My neighborhood is currently undergoing some much-needed spring cleaning of the grounds in the surrounding area. The daily sounds of leaf blowers, chain saws, edgers and mowers echo up and down the streets.
Bushes are being trimmed. The leafy elm trees are being hacked away to the point they are unrecognizable. The palm trees, probably a hundred or more by my count, are being shaved and pruned so they line the streets like perfectly appointed, impeccably dressed soldiers.
While the job is messy and noisy, I know that the diligent upkeep is necessary for the overall aesthetic of our quiet community. It takes some getting used to the sparse trees. The drastic cutting away of low hanging branches is necessary for the trees to flourish and grow larger and stronger. The end result of the radical pruning is exactly what the trees need to provide ample shade throughout the long summer months.
Sometimes I think that we believers need some radical pruning with regards to our walk with Jesus. Over time we can amass a lot of extra junk in our brains and spirit that bog us down and interfere with our relationship with the Lord.
Too much of a good thing can quickly become a bad thing. Netflix binges, sports playoff games, computer time and these smart phones of ours that were created to keep us tethered to the internet 24/7 can eventually overtake us, leaving little time for the things of God. Eventually we become unproductive.
If we have a genuine desire to grow closer to God, we need to be diligent in pruning our lives of the unnecessary time-wasting pursuits that are producing no fruit.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 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. John 15:1-2 (NLT)
Joyce Meyer has a great sermon on pruning in which she provides a visual of how God regularly is cutting away the unnecessary things in our lives. She says something to the effect that “we are pruned if we do and pruned if we don’t – so we might as well cooperate with God and let him prune away!”
Are you in need of some spiritual landscaping? Are there things in your life that need to be cut out or cut back on? Is there a habit or hobby that is consuming you that requires a little pruning to free up your time for the things of God? Don’t worry, lest you think this finger is pointing at you. It’s actually pointing right back at ME! I KNOW I’m long overdue for some serious maintenance in several areas of my life!
Remember, there is a season for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1), and we reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7). Are you sowing healthy fruit – or are you sowing weeds? Maybe it’s time to hand God the shears and let him … prune away!