Plants are pruned for several reasons: to encourage strong growth, increase fruit production, improve overall plant health and increase aesthetic appeal. Specifically, for larger trees, the removal of dead or damaged limbs has prolonged benefits to the plant, as well as benefits to the safety of people around it as dead branches can fall from the tree at any time.
(Which is important to those of us in TX as we understand the need for a good shade tree…. just look at your nearest parking lot in August…)
Pruning promotes life and growth. Not only does it discard death, but it also rids itself of the live branches before they can potentially reduce its ability to thrive. Merriam-Webster definition of Prune (v): to reduce – especially by eliminating superfluous matter; to cut off or cut back parts of for better shape or more fruitful growth.
The most obvious Bible verse on this subject is John 15:2 – He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful (NIV). But to back up a bit, the verse that prompted my thoughts on this subject was John 6:44 – No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.
What I take from this is not everyone who hears the words of the Father will listen or accept them. Some, perhaps many, will reject them. It is not my responsibility to make them believe, but to merely allow them to hear (and see through my actions) the life-changing words of God. Although this speaks to how I influence others, it also requires us to think about how others influence us.
Now for the hard part. Understanding John 6:44, take a look at your current circle of friends. Not your social media “friends” …the people you see face to face and hang out with regularly. Especially the people that you have known for a long time. Take a long hard look at your relationship with them. Is it positive or negative? Is it Godly or worldly? Are there some that suck the life away from you or just simply bring you down? Is it possible that God would have you “prune” your relationships, and is it conceivable that to thrive in the life he’s called you to, you must carefully (with love and grace), eliminate the superfluous?
Call to Action: Pray
Pray, then listen and observe. He will show you if there is pruning to be done, to whom, and when. Although some of the dead limbs in your life are obvious, you know who they are without even praying about it.
Written by: Kevin Callaway