Friday, January 28, 2022

Why Pruning Is Necessary


BySarah Geringer 

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.

John 15:2 NIV

I love buying flowers in the winter. They cheer me with their beauty on cold, grey days. Some of the bouquets I buy have a few lovely roses tucked in.

As an adolescent, I was responsible for maintaining my mom's rose bushes. I'm now an experienced gardener, and I can say with authority that there are no other plants that require more maintenance. They need to be sprayed regularly with fungicides and pesticides, watered at just the right intervals, fertilized with the best materials, and exposed to the exact amount of sunlight for maximum growth.

Roses also must be pruned to bloom in their full glory. I now have a wild rose bush that produces myriad blooms on its unpruned boughs. But the simple shape of a wild rose flower cannot compare to the full, gorgeous, multi-petaled tea roses we all know and love. The reason the cultured roses are so much prettier is because their rose bushes are meticulously pruned to produce only a few choice flowers at a time.

This week I've been reading Dr. Henry Cloud's book, Necessary Endings. He has a whole chapter devoted to this metaphor of pruning. It reminded me of my days of caring for roses, and rang true with some recent changes in my life.

Dr. Cloud says that superfluous, sick or dead parts of a rose bush need to be pruned for the best possible results. Likewise, the less-than-best, sick or dead parts of our lives need to be pruned out for our greatest personal growth. This is exactly what Jesus instructed us in his famous teaching recorded in John 15. He prunes off these parts of our lives for the greatest possible growth.

Pruning is not fun. It hurts! But it is truly for our good. Pruning is necessary, not optional, for the best life God has in mind for us. In fact, in another excellent book, Gary Thomas argues that even Jesus delivered his very best teachings after Judas left the group. Those gems of Jesus' teachings and prayers are recorded in John 14 - 17, right after Judas departs in John 13. When Judas was pruned from the group of disciples, Jesus' greatest teachings could flow like never before.

If Jesus submitted to being pruned by his Father to produce the greatest possible results - salvation for all the world - surely the pruning we receive from God is priceless in value. Jesus was so kind, loving and generous to be cut down in death for us. He had no sin in him, though we all have something less-than-best, sick, or dead that needs to be cut from us. If we submit to this pruning, we can glorify him in even greater ways than we do right now - perhaps in the greatest ways so far in our lives.

Consider these truths as you look at the roses in grocery store bouquets, in a bouquet you purchase for yourself, or one you may receive for Valentine's Day. Think about the hard work that went into cultivating them so they could become so beautiful. Ask God to show you what needs to be pruned in your life, submit to his cutting, and trust that his beautiful glory will shine through you in new ways, after the pruning is complete.

Looking for more encouragement? Check out all the posts I've written for Woman 2 Woman Ministries HERE.

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  1. Love this post! So much truth here... Yes, pruning is painful but necessary. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I'm not an experienced gardener, but I have seen this truth at work in nature. It's such an apt picture, and one that helps make sense of losses. When something is pruned, something grows in its place that couldn't otherwise.

    1. I love the nature pictures Jesus gave us that are still so true today!

  3. As Barbara said, I am not an experienced gardener but have seen this truth. Thank you for sharing this Sarah! ♥

  4. Sarah, love this post and the analogy. I AM an experienced gardner who raises roses and I know the value of pruning. I also know the value of pruning in my spiritual life, ouch! You are so right, it is unpleasant and downright painful, but oh so necessary for growth. I praise God he doesn't wince or hold back his hand from the much needed pruning in my life! Thank you for this encouraging article!

  5. Sarah, I so appreciated your post as I read this passage on Friday. I am a branch and on my own, am useless as life comes from the vine. May I remember this every day, and admit my weakness and rely on His strength and life in me to produce fruit. Pruning hurts but sometimes He prunes not only what is bad, but what is good so He can produce the BEST fruit in our lives.

    1. Amen! I love to return often to this chapter of John for meditation on these deep truths.


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