DOES IT HAVE TO HURT
By Carolyn Dale Newell
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”
John 15:1-2 (NKJV)
Just a few weeks ago, I pruned my rhododendrons to get rid of some overgrown branches. For many years, I never pruned them. Little did I know that pruning created growth and produced more flowers.
The same is true for Christians. God, the vinedresser, has to prune us. Pruning cuts off the unwanted branches and that is exactly what God does to us when we go through trials. Cutting sounds painful, and trials can be quite excruciating. One of the undesirable things that God cuts away is our entanglement with the world. James 4:4 tells us that “friendship with the world is enmity with God”. Sometimes we get so caught up with this world that we loosen our grip on the things of God. Trials have a way of weaning us away from the world.
Another reason for pruning is to help us grow stronger. Have you seen your faith in God grow stronger with each trial? Looking back at previous trials where God has brought me through the impossible, I learned He will enable me to get through anything.
Finally, God prunes Christians to produce more fruit. Let’s look at some of the fruits mentioned in Galatians 5:22: love, joy, peace, longsuffering…faithfulness. Do you find that your love for God and heaven grows with each trial? That love puts a desire in us to be more faithful to Him. We are able to feel more joy and peace during every season of pruning. Each trial brings about more longsuffering or patience.
Now that we understand some of the purposes for pruning, it won’t make the trials less painful, but we may be able to appreciate them better.
I realize that I need pruning, and although I don’t want to endure the pain of the trial, I thank You for doing what needs to be done. Help me see things that need to be removed in my life. Help me live for You and serve You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read John 15:1-8.
HIKING THE TRAIL
Examine your life:
- Are there any undesirable parts that need pruning?
- Are you putting God first?
- Are you clinging too tightly to material things?
Finally, ask God to help you feel His peace and joy during this painful season of pruning.
Copyright 2014 Carolyn Dale Newell.