Understand the Reason for Troubles and Prune for Spiritual Growth

The Key to a Fruitful Life is Pruning

“Maybe we should cut that broken branch off,” I said to my husband.

Our peach tree experiment had some serious problems.

The peaches had grown too big for the branches. The small burdened branches slumped to the breaking point, and the not-yet-ripe peaches were on the ground.

One branch had already broken and lay withering on the grass; its fruit shrunken little knots.

I remembered the words of our sister-in-law (orchard owner) saying a couple of months back, “You need to thin those peaches. Take some of them off. They will get too big and break your tree.”

We had not followed her expert advice.

The abundance of blooms was beautiful. In our mind, lots of bloom activity equaled lots of fruit. And we wanted lots of fruit.

Those beautiful blooms grew into beautiful fruit alright, but now our tree was in jeopardy of breaking apart.

We wanted lots of growth but knew absolutely nothing about the importance of pruning.

The Pruning Season

The natural things of life often are metaphors for the Christian spiritual life—and our poor tree was the epic story for us.

Just as it is important to prune physical fruit in the natural, it is also important to participate in God’s season of pruning in our walk of faith toward Christian maturity.

“…Every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (John 15:2).

In our Christian spiritual journey, there is a time when we as believers begin to have some success. There is joy in working for God, we are excited and learning and growing in the Bible and prayer.

Then comes trouble of some kind—a job lay-off, an illness, a family crisis, relationship trouble, or some sort of big problem. This time becomes a time of pruning in our lives.

It is not that God orchestrated the trouble, but He allowed it to come into our lives to test our faith and character.

Everyone Knows A Tree by Its Fruit:

Understanding the Reason for Trouble

The Bible tells us we know a tree by its fruit. And whether we like it or not, trouble tests the fruit of self-control, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, kindness, patience, peace, joy, and love in our life.[1]

These trials ask if we truly trust our Lord, the Master Gardener with every detail of our life.

These tests prove our true reliance on God. They ask if we can turn to Him for wisdom and strategies to handle the trouble we go through. They ask if we trust Him for the strength and healing of our hurts, emotions, and fears. They ask if we can trust Him for greater and healthier fruit in the end?

Although it is not fun, in these times, when life does not go as we wish, we learn strength of character and integrity.

Trouble is like the wind that beats against the tree so that its trunk and branches learn to be strong in adversity.?

In times of pruning, we learn to trust the Master Gardener who holds what is best for us in his hand—we trust that the circumstance will turn for our good in the long run and be a needed lesson.

Our Creator is more concerned about our character and motives than our immediate comfort.

He is looking to prune flaws in our character that could eventually prove fatal to our future.

Key to Spiritual GrowthThe Key to a Fruitful Life is Pruning

Like my overly productive peach tree, there are people who quickly grow too big without having learned that integrity strengthens their branches.

We can easily see this in Hollywood stars who gain popularity quickly. We can also see this at work and church leaders who try to scurry up the ladder, only to have their branches of integrity break.

When we say “yes” to the God’s pruning, He will touch those areas of our heart we have guarded for years—things such as hurt, disappointment, unforgiveness, bitterness, fear, selfishness, and maybe even addictive behaviors.

John (not his real name) was a fine respectable religious leader in our community. However, he became so addicted to pain medicines that he began plotting and habitually stealing from people he knew.

Of course, he got caught lying and stealing to feed his addiction.

He got caught, but after a few days, he went right back to life as usual, as if nothing ever happened—without allowing the pruning.

To allow the pruning would mean first admitting a problem, humbly receiving help, and stepping back from service to others for a time to allow God to deal deeply with the dirty roots and rotten fruit that had grown so large in his life.

Allow the pruning.

Another woman I know will cry, refuse to talk rationally, and throw a fit like a two-year-old if something does not turn out as she wants.

Now, I ask you, what kind of fruit is that?

Allow the pruning.

Another woman I know rushes from one relationship to another to another, one job to another, one event to another, and one toy to another, without taking time to settle down and truly find what is missing in her inner life.

She is so busy looking for the next thing to cover past hurts, rather than deal with the hurt and disappointments in life.

To allow the pruning would mean for her slow down, acknowledge she needs God’s help, come to God, and allow Him to heal all the hurt, disappointment, and things she feels she is missing.

Allow the pruning.

Have you had times of crisis that revealed things in your life that needed pruning?

I have. God has allowed circumstances in my life to make me aware of the fear in my own heart (that I had no idea was there before the incident).

We all have areas that need work.

Even if you do not understand all about your trouble, you can trust God to use it to help you produce good fruit.

What kind of character fruit do you produce? Do you show patience, peace, integrity, mercy, strength, kindness, and hope?

Or do you exhibit anger, bitterness, envy, strife, selfishness, or even a fear of losing control?

The future health of your tree depends on how you allow God to prune the fruit born in your heart.

Many people trudge through life and do not understand the reason for troubles–and are not willing to change.

We tend to strive in our own will power to get “ahead.”

To allow God’s pruning in our lives we must come before him in humility and ask Him to prune our life of everything He wants to prune.

We have to give Him permission to cut off even those little blossoms and buds that seem so innocent. We have to be willing to change anything and everything. We have to be willing to confront the deepest parts of our inner selves.

We can trust that the pruning is for our benefit, though the garden nippers may sting for a moment.

A time of crisis—whatever it may be—exposes the fruit of our character. And this is on purpose.

Truly, God is the One who can make all things work together for your good. 

The key to a fruitful life is pruning Pruning is Key to a Fruitful Life 

Early in the spring my husband and I were so excited to see fruit of any kind on our backyard tree, it just seemed too difficult for us to pluck off those small, little green buds.

However, if we had pruned those little buds, our precious tree would not be breaking apart today.

It is easier to nip a wrong attitude or behavior in the bud than to let it keep growing. It causes much greater pain to remove it at its full-grown size.

Allow the pruning.

While you are reading this, thoughts may come to your mind that need to be dealt with. You may have disappointments, hurts, and fears.

God wants you to lay all those things down at His nail-scarred feet. You can trust Him to take them and carry them for you. Give them to Him.

Ask Him to forgive you for holding on to all those things that hinder your bountiful harvest of good fruit.

Be willing to surrender all to Him and not run from His work. Trust Him in all things. This is the true key for spiritual growth and abundant fruit!

He loves and cares for you more than you can possibly imagine!

My Prayer for You

Dear Lord, I ask you to give these precious ones Your abundant grace to face the trouble in their lives at this moment. Help them understand the reason for troubles they are facing. Give them hope that the process of pruning is going to bring a great and wonderful harvest in their lives.

Strengthen their resolve. Wrap your arms around them and comfort them. Help them understand Your ways are higher than they understand.

Show them a glimpse of their future with You! Give them a vision of your idea of a fruitful life! Give them strategies and ideas to face the difficult. I pray you will encourage their hearts today!

With love and thanks I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Cynthia Johnson

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  1. Gal 5:22.

Photo by Hudson Hintze on Unsplash

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3 thoughts on “The Key to a Fruitful Life is Pruning”

  1. Beautiful and well written post. The pruning is not fun sometimes but it is so much needed. It will bring a blessing at the end.

  2. Thank u for the messages esp about pruning. I am just OVERWHELM of what my troubles, I am so lost of my inner struggles..pls help me by praying for me.

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