Pruning

Do you ever think, I wish I were more loving?

I’m often dissatisfied with my inability to love as perfectly as Jesus. I want my own way, and I justify this attitude with lots of ‘reasons’! The Bible always has the answer to such prevarication, but let’s call it by its proper name: sin.

In relation to this, I’d like to tell you something about our garden. We have sixteen new fruit trees there now. They stand in front of the new paling fences and will eventually be espaliered, which means they’ll be spread out against the fence. From the kitchen window, I can see them with their little ‘arms’ outstretched, waiting to be attached to the trellis as they grow.

When we brought them home from the nursery, Maurie pruned them before he buried their roots in the soil. Such young things, I thought, being pruned so early in their lives. But they’d already experienced it before we knew them; they were familiar with the process.

There’s an old story about pruning. One day Jesus told his friends, ‘I am the Vine and you are the branches, and the Gardener, my Father, has to prune you’. Ouch! I’ve often suspected that God’s pruning would be painful, but when I read Jesus’ story more carefully, I realised that he never said it’s a punishment. So what about the pain from the sharp secateurs and the loss of wood? Well, the tree accepts it. And why? Because it’s a reward for producing fruit!

fresh peaches on tree

Yum!

Our small trees haven’t borne fruit yet, but we expect it. Like the branches on Jesus-The-Vine, they must be prepared so they know what their life-task is, and how they are to produce mature fruit.

Jesus told his friends that they’d already been pruned by the words he’d said to them. Here are some of his words:

Make yourself at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love.

As always, he set the example. He loved them because he’d made himself at home in the Gardener’s love by doing what his Father said. That’s why he can tell us to do it. He loves us so much.

Some of our dwarf peach trees are already blossoming, and although the branches of the pear trees are still like twigs, one day they will produce! The inside of the tree is where it gets its ability to ‘grow up’. That’s why God always starts on the inside. He sent his Holy Spirit to live in my spirit so his fruit will be more than outward show. He wants to permeate my whole being. I can’t bear good fruit on my own.

man pruning tree (2)

I have no idea how to prune fruit trees, but Maurie, who grew up on his father’s orchard, and planted his own many years ago, does it almost instinctively. I see his hands holding the slender branches while he takes his snips and cuts confidently. He knows how that branch will follow.

That’s how we learn to love. I need to remember Jesus’ words every time I want to love someone. I want his words to bear fruit in my life.

Do you want that too?

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4 Responses to Pruning

  1. Margaret Aeschlimann says:

    There’s a curly willow outside our back window. The branches are dead looking and dangling in an apparently tangled mess. But there’s tiny green shoots appearing on the ends of the branches, a sure sign of Spring. Terry chopped off a couple of large branches recently, and it’s like the tree is saying ‘I want to live!’ The shoots are testament to this. I want to live too, so I embrace His pruning. What a joy to know He is still interested in pruning us so we will continue producing fruit, even in our old age.

    • Lyn Thiele says:

      Yes, Marg. Thank you for your comment. WordPress.org doesn’t let me know if there are new comments as they used to, so I’m glad I found yours.

      I remember the corkscrew willow we had years ago, which I think is the same as the one you described. God gives us so many illustrations in His creation to the life in His Spirit, doesn’t He? And He’s so patient with us. Perhaps He thinks I twist and wriggle like a corkscrew when He wants to prune me! But I do want Him to do it!

      A friend sent me a Blog post she’d received the day after she read mine on pruning and it was called…’Pruning’ and used the same scripture! It blessed me too.

  2. Lyn Thiele says:

    Yes, that’s good, Ruth. I wonder how often my words have that effect – sometimes for good and sometimes otherwise…! I’m glad Jesus’ words were always for blessing, even though they might seem strong at times.

  3. Ruth says:

    I really like your observation about pruning not always being painful. That it is Jesus words that shape us. It also made me thing that our words can shape other peoples lives.

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