I like to plant things in my flowerbeds that require very little maintenance. My plan was to plant a couple of varieties of African daisies to finish out the look in my front beds. Their care consist of watering and pinching off the dead blooms. Not bad. However, as I praised my finished work, God raised my eyes to view the over grown nandina bushes just behind. They looked unruly and overgrown. Nandina bushes are basically maintenance free too except they require major pruning every couple of years. It was like God was reminding me this was the year.
Reluctantly, I found the pruning shears and started to work. Of course, I wanted to give up after the second bush because my back was hurting from bending over. With each cut, I kept thinking I’ll finish this tomorrow. Yet, God was not ready for me to quit and told me to sit down, relax, and continue on. Just so you know, it was amusing scooting around on my hind parts from bush to bush and the times I had to get up...well that was pretty amusing too.
I should have known when I heard ‘sit down, relax, and continue on’ that there was more on God’s mind then just my immediate trimming need. The more I pruned the more He talked to me about the process of pruning. Now, I was pruning in the natural but He was explaining pruning in the spiritual. I finally had to get my journal and start writing. Below are the highlights of what I heard.
- If we are God’s child (accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord), then we will be pruned from time to time. Those whom He loves He corrects.
- Even though God prunes out of love and always has our best interest at heart, there will always be those who will question and blame God, refusing to change and thus never receiving the blessing of revelation and restoration that pruning provides.
- Trust God and His progress. Come humble before Him. He will turn everything to our good when we allow Him to finish His work. He is preparing us for the desires of our hearts which usually originate from Him.
- God desires more fruitfulness. Each trimmed limb often produces a double or more portion.
- Sometimes just a small snip gets our attention and realigns us but other times it’s a major undertaking. Major pruning is a step by step process. Each lesson has to be completed before advancement is allowed because each lesson is valuable. Stubbornness, willfulness, and the like will prolong the prune.
- Some of the reasons God prunes us are among the following: pride, ungodly mind-sets, undesirable attitudes and actions, unproductive dead parts, or lack of balance. The focus is to put us back on the right track again.
- Pruning does not mean we have lost your position in Him or His love. On the contrary, it is out of His love that He takes the time to refine. Then afterwards, who knows...it could bring an unexpected promotion.
- Our pruning is tailored to what is necessary at that time. And...We are not all pruned at the same time. God continually searches our hearts individually and not our deceptive outward appearance for inconsistencies.
- Hopefully because of our experiences, when we see the pruning of another, we will be compassionate, encouraging and not a gossip.
- We do not want to be 'in need of pruning' because of pride and possible embarrassment but God is not concerns about our reputation or our feelings when it comes to needed course corrections. He will comfort us doing the process but our feelings are not a deterrent. If it gets messy, He can restore anything lost when needed.
- God remains near us at all times to instruct and encourage. God always helps us clean up the repentant mess around us by taking away any sin, shame, guilt or regret. God is after the hope of glory He desires in us through expanding our faith and character.
- When God prunes us, He doesn’t look down on us in condemnation at all. He desires to reveal wisdom and solutions on a level we can understand. However, it is our responsibility to actively seek Him for the needed changes when things go south.
- Joy can be achieved throughout this process when we become grateful for/in the journey.
- When a plant is trimmed on the surface, its initial response is to go underground to develop stronger roots. In spiritual pruning, a stronger root is a teachable heart, a listening ear, time in His presence, prayer, bible study, fellowship, counsel and support from godly people to name a few.
- God’s grace is sufficient to help us find and eliminate any and all sinful roots especially the root of bitterness. Unless we intensionally root out the causes of these ungodly attitudes and actions, they will keep cropping up.
- God’s purpose in pruning is not to harm us but to guide us and give us a future and a hope by reestablishing His promises and commands then reaffirming His faithfulness to fulfill those promises and realign us in His cammands. In the end, we feel lighter and freer and we treasure the wisdom revealed because we have become more Christlikeness.
Afterwards, when I came into the bathroom to get cleaned up, I walked in front of the mirror and my T-shirt caught my eye. Rooted In Christ! That put a smile on my face. What a great ending to a great time with the Lord.
I don’t know where you are in your life today. You may be living the life of God’s joy, peace and abundance. However, if you find yourself in a season of God’s purposeful pruning, I hope this post will encourage you in your difficult season. It may not seem like it now but this too shall pass in God’s way and timing. Learn all you can and allow Him to love you through it.