I had the privilege of being raised on a 54 acre apple ranch. We had lots of fun hiding in apple bins, engaging in crazy rotten apple fights, and climbing trees. But being raised on a ranch also involves a lot of hard work: picking apples, clearing poison oak from around the trees, and dragging pruned apple branches into large piles. I’m sure I was a whiner and complained often about all the “hard work” in those formative years.
Dragging the pruned apple branches was always interesting to me as I would watch my father cutting off so many branches in each tree; leaving the tree looking a little oddly shaped. He would explain that without cutting back the limbs the trees would only produce tiny apples and lots of them. But if he annually cut away, pruned the branches the tree, it would produce healthy apples that would be larger, better tasting, and would have better color. Dad was right, as Fall rolled around, those trees that had been pruned produced the best apples in the orchard. Those pruned trees would have filled out again looking healthy rather than being oddly shaped, and they produced apples longer into the season than those that had been left to fend for themselves.
This principle is also very real as we walk out our lives as Christ followers. Scripture says in John 15:2 “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” Pruning can be a very personal experience as God works with us to produce good fruit. Pruning can mean that God will remove things in our lives that produce no fruit: Pointless or destructive habits, unproductive relationships, activities that sap our energy, or even areas where we’ve allowed a foothold of pride.
As unpleasant and confusing as pruning often is in hindsight we will be grateful because as Fall turns to Winter and then welcomes Spring you will reap a fresh harvest in your life for which you will be incredibly grateful.
“Lord, I want to give you all of the Glory through my life – but I must admit, I don’t like to see you coming with the pruning shears, nevertheless, help me to trust you more–that you are the Master of the Orchard, the Lord of my life, and the One who Loves and knows me best. So come, by the Holy Spirit, and work in my life so I can be a more Fruitful Branch in your Kingdom.”
FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES ( Prunes). Hebrews 12:6 🙂