1/27/10

Pruning Is the Pits

I finally cut back our rose trees last week, right before the rains came. My hands were full of thorn pricks—I can hear you saying, “Why didn’t you wear gloves?”—but in Southern California, pruning is a necessary event in January if I want the trees to thrive in early spring. Pruning encourages new growth and beautiful blooms, and the plant is healthier. Pruning shapes the plant rather than allowing it to grow rampant.

If I’m honest, I think spiritual pruning is the pits. I don’t like God’s pruning, even though I understand why He takes the task in hand. It’s necessary. It’s valuable. It’s an act of love.

When I prune the roses, I make some good cuts and some not-so-good cuts; but when God prunes me, He knows exactly what He’s doing and there are no mistakes. He prunes me so I will reflect the beauty of His design—the purposes of His heart. He prunes fruit-bearing “branches” so I will bear more fruit (become spiritually mature, John 15:2b-3. He purges (disciplines or chastens) me so I will partake of His holiness (Hebrews 12:7, 10).

God’s pruning knife—the Holy Spirit’s application of the Word of God to my heart as I go through the circumstances of life—may hurt, but the end result makes the process worthwhile. Theologian Charles Spurgeon said, “affliction is the handle of the knife.” Sometimes the pruning does indeed include suffering, but just as I know the frailty of my rose trees, God understands my frailty (Psalm 103:14). Just as I know to prune my roses in January, God knows the perfect time to prune me. He does so skillfully and with great love.

God prunes me for my good and His glory. My choice is simply to submit to the knife with confidence in His tender, loving care.

4 comments:

crazydaisy said...

I couldn't say it better!

Dawn Wilson said...

Thanks, CD!

Marja said...

Great post Dawn, thank you. I know pruning (cleaning) is necessary to bear more fruit (John 15), but Jesus then told His disciples: "You have been made clean already by the teaching I have given you". So, we either receive His teaching (and obey) or get pruned... what's your thought on this?

Dawn Wilson said...

God sanctifies us with His Word of Truth, for sure (John 17:17, 19). We are made clean in the Word (Psalm 119:9-11) and we need to seek God with all our hearts so we won't stray from His commands ... but He disciplines His children when they do stray because he loves us (Prov. 3:11-12; Heb. 12:3-17) so we will bear the "peaceable fruit of righteousness." I think we're always in the growth process ... and just as a plant needs fertilizer and other additions to grow, and pruning for greater fruit-bearing and health, we need the cleansing/sanctifying teaching of the Word added to our life AND the pruning of his discipline. And sometimes, stresses help plants grow stronger. God sometimes allows trials to strengthen us and to teach us patience and endurance. I don't think it's a matter of either/or ... we learn from teaching, and we learn from the pruning/trials, too. Also ... We are clean in Jesus positionally, but that cleaning process happens daily in our sanctification process. What do you think, Marja?