I studied Horticulture, and so I love the gardening analogies in the Bible. Lately I have been thinking about God’s Reasons to Prune Us.
They are so similar to pruning fruit trees.
God Prunes to…
Increase Fruit Production
- Some fruit trees produce blossoms and then fruit on spurs, which are bud-like outgrowths on branches. Pruning promotes the development of spurs that will bear fruit the next year. Young, vigorous trees may produce too many spurs, or poorly spaced spurs that you need to thin. This keeps the tree in balance. Balance is important in ministry too. We want zeal, but we need wisdom and caution too.
To Open Us Up
- Trees need full sun and wind…and people need the fullness of the Son and the wind of the Holy Spirit blowing in their lives.
- Close-set branches need to be pruned to open up the tree. This creates good air circulation within the tree, which helps prevent diseases.
- Vigorous trees often produce branches that are too close together or even cross each other, and a tree can actually shade itself too much…actually blocking the sun. The sun is important to keep a tree healthy and free from mold. It also helps ripen the fruits, increasing the red color in red apples. Which makes them more healthy. We have to keep ourselves open to God too. We can’t crowd our lives with activities and not spend time open before God. Sometimes God has to cut things from our lives so we will seek Him!
- Crops that are too heavy can break limbs, especially on dwarf trees.
- Pruning helps keep a tree from getting overwhelmed and having limbs break.
- This is the same in our lives. We have to be careful to have good boundaries and know what we can or can’t carry in life. Jesus’ burden is light and His yoke is easy.
To Help with Harvest
- Trees properly pruned are much easier to manage at harvest time, and there is less chance of damage.
- Unity creates a power and ease for harvest time!
To Remove Hindrances or Distractions
- Pruning bearing trees is critical to maintain healthy fruiting wood. Remove weak, “shaded-out” wood, diseased or dead wood, watersprouts and root suckers. These parts actually take away from the branches that are producing the fruit…
- Sometimes there are relationships or activities that have to be removed from our life because they are blocking God…they will actually keep us from getting all we can from Him.
To Prepare for a Season of Growth
- There’s a season that is best for pruning too, it is usually best done in late winter or early spring, while the trees are still dormant. Sometimes God will take you through a season where you have to be very still, and before you come out of the season, or right as you’re beginning to blossom, He will begin to cut things from your life. The word says, humility comes before honor.
- With a young tree, it is best to trim them during summer. Probably because a young tree hasn’t known the winter season yet, that’s more for the seasoned Saints. Pruning for a young minister is more to get them established.
- Maintaining the proper shape is important for fruitfulness, health, growth, strength and ease of harvest. Older trees are well established and their pruning is more for maintenance and asthetics.
To Renew and Re-establish
- Pruning older trees invigorates them. Older barren can often be brought back into fruitfulness simply by pruning them to encourage new growth.
To Keep Healthy, or for Healing and Cleansing
- Damage may occur from harvesting or harsh winter weather, like ice and heavy snow. Check the bark for small holes and signs of insect infestation. Rodents often chew small branches and bark, so prune these branches. We need to keep watch of our spiritual health. Sometimes ministry can be hard on us, we get wounded or hurt. We need to make sure we deal with the pain as soon as possible.
- See that no bitter root springs up…
- First year tree whips are small and unbranched, usually about 12 to 18 inches tall. They have to be pruned right after their planted in summer when the lateral buds have grown into small leafy branches about 3 to 4 inches long. An upright branch had to be chosen to become the central vertical leader, and allow selected lateral branches to continue to grow from the leader as scaffold branches for the mature tree. This early pruning helps determine the ultimate shape of the tree.
- Pruning a new ministry right away is like training up a child in the way he should go…it establishes a strong a central vertical leader or a rod in us!