by Rob Dunne
Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. John 15:2
To say that I do not have a green thumb is an understatement. Years ago, someone gave me a Christmas cactus that theoretically should have been a breeze to care for. I managed to kill the poor thing. Given this understanding, I do not know what possessed me to try pruning the hydrangea behind our condo.
Long dry branches like the spindly fingers of a witch’s hand poked up out of the hydrangea. Carefully placing the pruning shears as close to the base as I could, I removed the lifeless limbs. Occasionally, the branch would simply give way, emitting a snapping sound causing me to question why I was doing this.
Spindly fingers aside, determining the existence of life in other parts of the hydrangea was not easy. Though not what one considers vibrant, some of the branches contained a shadow of life in them. Using my best guestimate, I chopped away. By the time I finished, my hydrangea looked rather pathetic. “Well genius,” I said to myself, “it looks like you have done it again!”
In spite of its hapless appearance, we watered and fed the hydrangea. Much to my delight, signs of life began to spring forth; a leaf here, a shoot there. Before my wondering eyes this once seemingly lifeless hydrangea sprang back. It even managed to spit out a couple of bluish/purple flowers. Take that, green thumb!
What I did to my hydrangea was an act of love. I don’t quite understand how or why this is so, but all of the dead branches were somehow preventing the healthier ones from producing. By removing them, life giving nutrients flowed into the healthy branches, allowing them to flourish.
In a similar way, God lovingly prunes each of his children. All of us can look at some aspect of our lives and see what is or isn’t producing fruit. He prunes those things that do not produce fruit. In doing so, God allows the Word and His Holy Spirit to nourish us. That nourishment flows into our healthy characteristics and results in an abundance of kingdom worthy fruit.
Galatians 5:22 outlines nine fruits that the Spirit grows within us. The first and arguably most important fruit is love. As we learn to love God, ourselves and others, the Holy Spirit helps us develop other fruit.
Let the Holy Spirit shine His light on your life today. If you are not producing the fruits of His Spirit, perhaps it is time to let the Master Gardener do some pruning. I promise the end results will be stunningly beautiful!
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