|Apple Blossom photo courtesy of Darlene Folk.|
Though I love plants, here in Colorado the only luck I seem to have with growing anything is with houseplants. But whether it’s a fruit tree, a rosebush in your yard or begonia in my window, pruning them makes them plush, bushier, more beautiful, and produce more blossoms, instead of spending their energy growing spindly and flowerless.
In the book of John, Jesus tells us that He is the vine and we are His branches, and that His Father is the gardener that keeps us pruned – for our own good and His glory. (John 25:1-8)
When our lives are not as productive as they should be, perhaps we’re resisting that pruning. So often we insist on doing things our way, without even considering that our way might not be the way God want us to go about it.
In our own reasoning, we will do things completely different than the way God chooses to. (There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Proverbs 14:12 KJV)
If I had to come up with a plan to redeem mankind, I don’t think my finite brain would have come up with a plan like His. Jesus leaving His throne in heaven to take my place on the cross seems like a harsh way to go – but Jesus Himself said to His Father, “Not my will, but Thine.”
That makes me stop and take a second look at what I’m doing during my day and with my life and ask, “God, is this what you’d have me do?”
Then comes the harder part; listening for His reply. Yes, we’ll recognize His voice if we’re seeking Him with all our heart. He’s the good Shepherd and we are the sheep of His pasture. We’ll follow Him closely if we’re paying attention, but sheep can be dumb and wander off wherever the grass looks greener.
Take the time to be intentional; about the things you do, about submitting yourself to God and about listening for His voice and direction. The pruning will begin and you’ll start producing beautiful (blossoms) fruit immediately.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.” John 10:14-15 (NIV)
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:27-28 (NIV)