Monday, August 1, 2011

Prune me, Lord

It is the Word that prunes the Christian, it is the truth that purges him, the Scripture made living and powerful by the Holy Spirit—effectually cleanses the Christian. ~Charles Spurgeon

Mrs. Thompson (affectionately known as Ms Janet), the lady Emily is spending the summer with and working for, needed her bushes pruned.  When she found out Jonathan was a landscaper, she asked him to do the work for her.  Pruning is defined as cutting off or removing dead or living parts to improve shape or growth. It's really not as easy as it sounds.  I'm sure if I tried to shape a bush it would be horribly lopsided.  Jonathan, however, is trained to prune.

That's why we get in trouble trying to prune the hearts of others.  It's not our job.  The Master Pruner, God, who knows our hearts, knows just what to prune out of our lives.  He removes what is undesirable -- bad habits, wrong choices, ungodly practices -- so there is room for good growth.

A landscaper cutting off a branch or a twig or a stalk of your beloved bush seems painful. But in reality, if a gardener doesn’t prune the dead branches away, he is not really caring for the plant or tree in the best way possible.

We read, God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.  If He loves us that much -- enough to freely give His only Son -- then to not prune our hearts when needed would be contradictory to His Word.  

Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible says the following about these verses: “Here is the reason why we should neither neglect correction, nor faint under it: it is a proof of the fatherly love of God Almighty, and shows his most gracious designs towards us; from which we may be fully convinced that the affliction will prove the means of good to our souls, if we make a proper use of it.”

Our pruning may not be pleasant.  Pruning hurts.  But we must remember Hebrews:12:5-6 -- “Do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD loves He chastens.”

Our pruning tool is the Word of God. It's sword sharp and easily cuts away the unruly, unwanted growth -- “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews:4:12).  God uses other Christians to admonish us, as well as life's circumstances to prune weeds from our lives.

As I write this post, I want you to know I am not writing this at you.  As with all of my writings, they are born out of what God is doing in my life -- the truths He is teaching me.  

As God prunes me, I find it's the small cuts that hurt the most -- my attitudes, lack of joy, selfishness, bitterness.  I feel the pruning sheers cutting off evil surmising, jealousy and prejudice.   Max Lucado says that God loves us the way we are, but loves us too much to allow us to stay that way.  As a Christian I want God to shape my attitudes and desires. The more He prunes me the more I can be like Him. In allowing God to prune me I am yielding to the cutting away of religious facade.

God knows my potential.  He knows the lives I can touch.  But He also knows the heart weeds that will keep me from accomplishing His purpose through me.

And then, just like Jonathan had a special benefit to pruning Ms. Janet's bushes (seeing Emily in the middle of the week), so I will have the added benefit of lush new growth from God's pruning -- my spiritual life will become new and vibrant.  I can live an abundant and victorious life, knowing God will be faithful to get out the pruning sheers when I falter, when I tend towards legalism or lean closer to carelessness.  The vibrancy of the Holy Spirit's nudging to shelter will help Christ become more evident to those I shelter.  God has called me to shelter...  His pruning keeps me accountable.  And that makes me thankful -- and even more in love with my Heavenly Pruner.

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Susan said...

It is never fun to be pruned - but the joy we receive when it is over! Thank you for a gentle reminder of this need I have in my life to willingly allow the God who loves me to care for me!

Becky said...

Pruning is always hard, yet I am so thankful for it. I once heard the illustration that a gardener is never as close to a plant as when he is pruning it.

The way I see it is that it's those times that I am getting pruned is when the Lord is the closest to me and that brings me such comfort and that peace that surpasses all understanding.

Shanda said...

'The more He prunes me the more I can be like Him. In allowing God to prune me I am yielding to the cutting away of religious facade.' As with me, it is often legalism and religious 'pride' if you have it, that God has to prune. There is never a time in our life when pruning isn't necessary. Never fun though

Vilisi said...

Hello Pamela,
Thank you for this timely post. It speaks of what God is doing in my life right now so I really appreciated reading this. I'm thankful for the pruning, it's a promise of better things and evidence of the Father's love. Praise God!

Beth in NC said...

I just found you through Titus2sday. I love how you pointed out if pruning is incorrect the subject will be lopsided and how we shouldn't try to prune others.

Loved your post. I am your newest follower. I hope you'll come to visit me as well.

God bless you!

Unknown said...

I feel as though I am about to see the fruit of all the pruning He has done in me over the last year. I've also seen what the gift of nourishment His Word has given me. In many ways, it is the healing balm that soothes the hurt from pruning.

Stephanie said...

Amazing correlation. :)


Thanks for reminding me that it is not my job to prune others.

I keep forgetting to ask you if you are 100% recovered from your hospital stay?



Unknown said...

Wow, this really spoke to my heart. It sums up several different things I have been reading this past week. Isn't it amazing how God will prune and yet at the same time give us words of incouragement to help us thrive.

Thanks for sharing. I found you through my craft blog. I am so glad I did:)

Paper Compulsions

RicKaren said...

Thanks for another great post! Always enjoy them so much!

Krista said...

Pamela - Thank you for commenting and following me! I am now following you too! LOVE the beauty and truth in your blog :)

This is a great topic, I feel God is pruning me in every which way right now but Oh the creation I will be!

Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

It's so hard not to prune others. Sometimes keeping my mouth shut and praying is also a gift (if I would only use it more often). Thanks for reminding me that my pruning is also for my good.

Karen said...

Pruning! The gift nobody asks for! But our Father knows best. Lovely post, Pamela!

Clint said...

Being pruned is painful. But if we accept it in Christ, we grow our faith and become stronger.

Trying to prune others is impossible and so very frustrating. Yet, we still try because we love them.

Shannon said...

I attended Proverbs 31's She Speaks Conference a couple of weekends ago. The President of that organization Lysa TerKeurst ( delivered a beautiful message about letting God chisel our lives. The process of being pruned or chiseled is painful but oh the beauty that surfaces when we allow it. Love this post. Thank you!

Renee said...

Beautiful post, Pamela. I often resist God's pruning but know it is so important for me to be open to becoming the person He wants me to be. God bless.

Jenifer Metzger said...

Beautiful post. I want God to prune me.

Sheri said...

Oh wow! He's definitely been pruning me for a few years but I have been so resistant. Beautiful post with so much depth!

Laura said...

I love your point about why we are not supposed to prune the hearts of others. Been guilty of this myself a time or two! And, Amen that he loves us too much to leave us the way we are. Such a lovely metaphor for our spiritual journey.

Gayle said...

Hi, love the idea of the spirit pruning us. I had two lovely climbing roses that seemed to have died over the winter. I cut the dead all the way to the ground and pulled everything off the arbor . Low and behold, they are alive and now climbing again.
When I wrote the blog post A Sheltering Tree, I had forgotten that was the name of your blog! (Even though I have visited several times) It just seemed the right name for what I had been pondering all week.
Gayle from Behind the Gate

Charlotte said...

Sometimes I feel like I am pruned down to just a twig:) But I know God is wise in His pruning...He cuts away what isn't good for me, to allow His best to grow.

The best thing is, we can trust Him with the pruning sheers.

Thank you for sharing this.

*^_^* said...

Wonderful, Pam!
You're an inspiration!

Esther Asbury said...

Wonderful truth, Pam....and so very well written (as always).

LeAnn said...

Loved your thoughts on pruning;it is a great post.
Yes, we all do need to be pruned by God and I know how that feels for sure. Thanks for the enlightening thoughts.
Enjoy the moments!

amanda said...

My children never seem to understand why I prune our roses - they always look at me w/ wide eyes - why would I cut back something I love? But when they start to bloom again the question answers itself. Pruning is necessary for flowers and our lives. Thanks for this reminder. :)

Red Door Home said...

Thank you for sharing these beautiful thoughts from your heart.

Trish said...

Praise God for His masterful hand in the pruning of our hearts and souls!
Only He can can bring forth the true potential and beauty planted therein!
Painful though it seems at times - so worth it when the fruit and blossoms come.
Thank you for linking this encouraging post to LACE.
God bless you and yours..Trish

HeARTworks said...

When I was younger, I always asked God to treat me gently. Then one day Jesus came to me in my first and only vision. We were in a garden with beautiful plants and trees. He said He was the gardener and He pruned every one of those plants. Then He showed me a decaying tree, lifeless. He said, "I am sure you do not like to be like this tree." He then asked if I was willing to be pruned! I'll never forget it- imagine the Lord asking permission to prune me! Of course I said yes because I knew that was what was best for me!

Deb Chitwood said...

Beautiful post, Pamela! It's so true that we have to allow God to shape us (even if it's painful at the time) if we want to be and do our best. Thanks for the wonderful reminder!