My dad takes great pride in his peach tree. At just five years old, this tree yields quite a crop. Let’s just say we’ve had peach cobbler, peach ice cream, peach preserves. You get the idea.
However, this bounty of peaches did not appear out of thin air. Yes, there were the basics of pollination at work, but at the same time, my dad takes great care with his peach tree. He waters it. He nurtures it. He prunes it.
For those of us who may not have the greenest of thumbs, myself included, pruning is the selective removal of a portion of a plant.
So why prune a plant, or in the case of our illustration, a peach tree?
- develops a strong framework for fruit production
- removal of dead or diseased wood opens up the tree for sunlight penetration and air movement
- yields high quality fruit and lives longer
I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit…Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me…My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.”
Huh. So the goal is to bear a lot of fruit. Sounds like a paragraph right out of a horticulture textbook. According to Jesus, the things in my life that are unfruitful or sick or dead need to be removed. They need to be pruned.
Because what is the goal? To glorify God with my life, by bearing fruit, by being transformed into the likeness of Christ.
Pruning is a painful process. Now I don’t know how a tree might feel about having its branches removed, but when God is changing my heart, my attitude or removing the junk I have stored up, it hurts. It’s not easy because I’m not always willing. And in my case, it’s usually a very long process.
The act of pruning is to greatly benefit the tree. Even though a significant amount of branches may be removed, the quality of fruit is far superior and the overall health of the tree is enhanced. Why wouldn’t I want the same results for my own life? Why do I want to hold on to things in my life that prevent me from experiencing what God has in store for me?
So as I eat my peaches, I want to invite God to remove in my heart the things that hinder my growth. It will most likely hurt. It may involve suffering. And it will take time. But ultimately, that’s when the change comes and when I can truly glorify my Father. And when the change comes, bring on the fruit.