Listen to this devotional:
John 15:2 – 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. (NKJV)
We have two really large poplar trees in our backyard. Apparently, they are twenty-five years old. They are not particularly attractive trees, as they are constantly pruning themselves — shedding boughs, twigs, and leaves with the slightest breeze. Messy trees, I call them, because they cause a lot of clean-up work. Today, the wind, so strong that I can hardly call it a summer breeze, is rushing through the leaves, shaking them and dislodging them as it goes. I love the sound of the leaves twisting, turning, shaking, making the trees sound alive, as they respond to the currents of air coursing through them. I think of the wind as the pruning breath of God, our Master Gardener, as He comes to clean out what is not productive.
Some of us, in our hearts, are undisciplined and unruly. We have bad habits and sins that keep us from having the beauty that God intended us to have, bogged down by difficulties and overwhelmed by worries. Our self-will has grown too big for our own good; we affect everyone around us with our careless attitudes and spiteful words. We need to be pruned and cleaned up. In some instances, we need to be cut down and replaced with something completely different: a warmer heart, a cleaner spirit, and a beautiful attitude that radiates warmth and attracts all that is good and clean.
Prayer: As difficult as it may be for us sometimes, Lord, may we learn to leave the pruning to You, trusting that we will be guided through whatever difficulties we may have, no matter how big or how small. May we know that no matter how messy things may get, nothing is too big for You to deal with. We give You thanks, for we know that when our trials are over, we will be stronger and closer to You. Amen!