Pruning and its Purpose

''Every branch that bears fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

John 15:2



At this time of year my wife Maureen normally has to lean on me to carry out one of my least favourite jobs in the garden... cutting back some of our shrubs. Least favourite because although I have no problem with cutting off the stems and branches that are dead, it goes against the grain for me to cut back that which is healthy and thriving... even though I know that for many plants it's the right thing to do.


Yet for those of us who are Christians our heavenly Father must deal with us in a similar way at times – by pruning our lives. Of course many different circumstances may serve as a pruning knife in His hands. Adversity can come at us in all kinds of hardship and suffering, including the deadly and destructive aspects of Covid-19. It's hard to know why He has permitting this but one reason may be His desire to refine His body, the church.


Perhaps He's forcing us to realise that our relationship with Him should not be overly dependent upon the regular routines of Sunday services and midweek activities, but rather a deeply intimate, personal walk with Him. After all, the good can so easily become the enemy of the best.


In the words of A.W. Tozer...


'the local church exists to do corporately what every believer should be doing individually – and that is to worship God. The Christian church exists to worship God first of all. Everything else must come second or third or fourth or fifth.'


As we do our best to soldier on in the midst of all the current restrictions let's remember that the pruning knife of our heavenly Father is guided by a loving pair of hands. So let's not shrink from the knife, that it might serve to deepen our love for Him and for one another. After all, His purpose is to produce good, and even better fruit in us.


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