Sometimes To Grow You Have To Lose Something

pruningDo you know what pruning is? Not a dried, bitter plum, but an action taken by a gardener for healthier plants. They remove dead wood, trim living wood, all so it can be healthier and more fruitful. It’s also a process we as Christians go through.

John 15:1-4

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

Jesus is like a vine, life flows through him to the branches connected to him. Guess who the branches are?

God is the one who cleans the rotting, dead wood off our lives. He also trims off the good, but not useful things if something better can grow in its place. I thought about what that meant one Sunday, what does it look like?

Pruning People

My experience may not be yours exactly; we’re different so we require a personal touch. What I noticed is two things were cleared up almost immediately: my cursing, and my love of porn in late 2014. I didn’t make an effort to change, I simply lost the urge. Snip!

Then my attitude began to change. This pruning is part of the sanctification process. Serving others grew into generosity, which is now rolling into my one big thing. (I’m not telling you what that is to see if you recognize it growing. This will let me know how much growth there is.)

How It Works In My Experience

Here’s what I noticed about how pruning works for me. I lose interest or desire in something, it dies and falls off. Something else takes its place.

One major cut that caused internal strife was a business I ‘owned’. Like oil and water, it and the new me did not mix. I tried, but it wasn’t happening. It was cut off, we both lost our dead wood, and grew from it.

Another example, martial arts. I have 26 books and multiple DVDs on them, was in class for years, and still enjoy watching it and talking about it. It is a good branch, not an entirely fruitful one.

It was trimmed back, the interest lessened, and my studies in that are filled with different studies now. The class time was replaced with working with the homeless ministry since money was tight at the time. I occasionally meet up with the group, we’re still friends.

At times the interest just dies, and I drop something I did for a long time. The TV show, Vikings, I loved since it came out, the history of it. This latest season I only made it through two episodes. Dead wood.

It’ll happen again, with what, I don’t know. The principle is God prepares you to be more productive in His kingdom. Have you seen this principle at work in your life?

5 thoughts on “Sometimes To Grow You Have To Lose Something

  1. Love these thoughts. I wonder how much responsibility we have for evaluating our own lives and pruning things which aren’t helpful to our growth though. Is it something that God just does when he sees fit, or do we also need to keep a watch for areas where change is needed?

    1. I think we need to be watchful as well so not to become complacent but as with most things with God, He does the majority to all the work; taking our “five loaves and two fish” of effort and multiplying it.

      1. I was trying to remember what was the last time I self-pruned and finally remembered. Podcasts, mainly the entertainment ones where I gained nothing from them.

  2. This is good stuff!! I have also noticed when I pray for the Holy Spirit to help me with a struggle or “dead wood”, He sure comes through when we ask! I appreciate your transparency with your life.

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