All trees need attention and care if they are to flourish and look beautiful. Pruning is done to improve the growth and fruitfulness of a tree. This involves enhancing the natural form and character of the tree by removing anything that competes with the growth of the main trunk.
Correct and effective pruning is different from just "shearing" a tree. Pruning basically involves the removal of two types of branches. The first is a branch that is growing the wrong direction. These branches rub the other branches and can cause disease. They also block out the sunlight that is needed for flower buds to form. The second type of branch to prune is a "sucker" branch that shoots out beneath the graft. These branches are incredibly dangerous to the life of the tree. They will draw all of the strength and energy from the tree into themselves, and the tree will often die—but only above the graft, which is where the blooms grow.
Before pruning, a gardener always has a mental picture of what he desires the tree to look like after pruning. In the same way, God is our gardener, He knows the beauty that He hopes we can become when He says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). Like a tree, we sometimes need pruning in our spiritual and physical lives in other for us to flourish and bear more fruits.
John 15:1-2 - “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine-dresser. 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.
God so much loved us that He wants us to bear more fruits (not just bear fruits, but bear more fruits). He prunes the "branches" of our lives that are growing the wrong way. He prunes the branches that are growing from beneath the "graft," sprouting out of our flesh. This pruning is not done to hurt or punish us. No! That's not it at all. If left to grow on their own, shoots, sprouts and suckers would begin growing wildly in many directions. Soon the tree or vine would be all foliage and no fruit. God’s dream for our lives is much bigger than we could ever think or ask for. So, when He prunes, He is simply pruning us to be who we are meant to be in life. He loves us enough to prune branches that have some blooms—in order that we can have many blooms.
Perhaps some of our branches have begun to grow in the wrong direction. Or maybe our flesh has "sprouted" a branch that, if left un-pruned, would drain the strength out of our spirit and our spiritual life. It's an unholy branch that would eventually destroy our effectiveness, causing us to have no beautiful blooms and no fruit. God’s pruning process uses the circumstances in our lives to help us grow in His character and appearance. But this would not happen without pruning correctly and at the right time. God knows the perfect time to prune us. It is sometimes difficult to realize that God’s timing is perfect, but God knows what we can become when properly pruned.
Even Jesus Christ was pruned. Hebrews 5:8 tells us, “He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” Jesus did not have to learn to obey, but he required the special discipline of obedience (even obedience unto death) as a training for his office as a high priest (Hebrews 5:1-9).
God’s Word is the perfect tool for pruning us. God’s Word is sharp so that it can remove the unwanted “branches” in our lives without harming us. “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). God’s Word helps us to discern our intentions and thoughts.
God also directs our pruning through the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit guides us “into all truth,” helping us to study what we need (John 16:13). If we are truly abiding in Christ, he will tell us from time to time, through the voice of the Holy Spirit, about those things that we do, think and feel that are not pleasing to the father. God wants to “prune away” those things that are incompatible with the Christian walk. The Holy Spirit helps us to see what God is working out in our lives, encourages us during the process and directs our minds.
Just as there are seasons for pruning, growing, blooming and fruit-bearing, we must not expect immediate fruit. But fruit will happen from a matured and intimate relationship with God. God wants us to produce the fruit mentioned by Paul in Galatians 5:22-23. He wants fruits that reflects the transformation of our lives from what we are to what we can become.
Blooms display a healthy, vibrant tree, ready to bear fruits. Relax! The pruning shear is in our heavenly Father’s hand and He will lovingly prune us. He's not going to prune us without a purpose that leads to more fruit. Whatever He takes away temporarily, is so that He can bring us out with more. It may not make sense to us, or we may feel like we're going the wrong direction - God knows what he's doing. When the "springtime" of our journey comes around again (and it will), we will bloom more beautifully than ever before and bear more fruits.