Today, I want to talk briefly about pruning, an aspect of discipleship that many of us find unpleasant. Whereas goal setting is a matter of building, pruning is a form of cutting or taking down, yet both are equally important for growth to happen in the Kingdom of God. A gardening term by nature, to prune a plant or a tree means to cut off superfluous or undesired twigs or branches. In a spiritual sense, it means that we must get rid of things in our lives that unnecessarily weigh us down or that keep us from moving toward Jesus. For example, if I set a goal of improving my physical health, I may have to prune certain habits or avoid situations that tempt me to eat too much of the wrong kinds of foods. If I’m seeking to cultivate Christlike character, I may need to let go of friendships that beckon me to go down a wrong road, or even give up a job in order to move away from people who are causing me to stumble. Regardless of what it looks like, the truth is that pruning will be painful since it requires giving something up that’s been engrafted in order to provide comfort. However, surrendering the superfluous is always worth the price, because it opens up the door to God’s richest blessings and most abundant life.
My friend, now is the time to welcome the powerful discomfort of Jesus’ pruning. Your Savior has great plans for your life, and He’s inviting you to let go of the things you think you need so He can give you something much better. While losing pieces of yourself is always painful, He will be with you at each turn to provide help, guidance, and comfort on the journey to spiritual health. Even better, He will replace everything you give up with more — more power, more peace, more grace, more strength, more empathy, more gratitude, and more love for Him, yourself, and others. As you stay connected to the True Vine, He will root your soul, shape your character, mold your abilities, and cause your life to become a powerful reflection of His righteous and loving nature.