As an avid gardener, I am usually concerned about the health of my plants. Am I giving them the right nutrients? Is the plant pot bound and needs to be moved into a different one? Do they need pruning?
My neighbor has a very prolific lime tree. Yet, each year, the limes got smaller and smaller and did not produce much juice. I examined the tree and noticed a lot of dead branches all over the tree. Not only that, but the skin of the fruit also had this withering look. I suggested to her to have her gardener prune the tree of its dead branches to see an improvement. I also suggested laying down a mulch of Sargasso Seaweed at the roots to kill the fungus that caused the fruit to look the way they do. As a result of her taking my advice, the quality and size of the fruit improved, to her delight (and mine).
John 15:1-2 speaks of this pruning of our lives. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”
The fruits of the Spirit which results from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within us are:
• love [unselfish concern for others],
• joy, [inner]
• patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting],
Parasites and diseases, for example, will more readily attack a tree that is under stress. When the tree is not pruned, the plant still uses energy trying to send nutrients to something that is already dead. This results in smaller and sometimes bitter fruit. Pruning helps to keep the tree healthy and free of disease. In addition to this, proper watering, feeding, and exposure to sunlight produce optimum conditions that will bring forth the kind of fruit we desire.
To maintain our spiritual health, there are areas of our lives that have to be done away with. The sexual immorality, doing whatever feels good, idolatry, drug use, hate, fighting, obsession, losing your temper, competitive opposition, conflict, selfishness, jealousy, drunkenness and other things like that (Galatians 5:19-21) are the dead branches (works of the flesh) that stifle our spiritual growth and affect the quality of the fruit that we bear. These things sap our spiritual energy and leave us open to attacks from the enemy. As a matter of fact, it is these very dead branches that he uses to gain access to our tree. Therefore, pruning them away denies him a foot hold in our lives.
Remember his mission is to kill, steal and destroy everything about our lives, our hopes, our dreams. He is very adept at his job, skillful to a fault.
If we ask the Holy Spirit to shine His light in the dark areas of our lives, we will have begun the first step towards pruning our tree. Proper watering and feeding will include delving into the Word of God on a daily basis so that our roots can be sunk deep into Him making us unmovable in the storms of life. As He is the husbandman, understand that sometimes the pruning will be painful, but if we allow Him to do His will in us, we can only bear the fruit of the best quality.
Points to Ponder
• When I measure my life against the works of the flesh, how much of that is still in my life?
- Am I willing to allow the Holy Spirit to prune the dead areas of my life?
- Am I willing to be obedient to do all that He says I am to give up?
• When I examine my life against the fruit of the Spirit, what kind of fruit am I bearing?
- Am I truly concerned about my fellows?
- Do I ever declare that “I am not patient?”
- How do I behave when someone cuts me out in the traffic?
- What happens to me when I am in a slow moving line?
- Am I faithful in the small things?
- Are my values the same when no one is looking?
- How do handle those less fortunate than me?
- Are my appetites subject to my will or is my will subjected to my appetites?
Author: Sylvia M Dallas
Poet, Author, Photographer, Teacher of the Word and CEO and Director of Creator Services at The Publisher’s Notebook Limited based in Jamaica. She is married to Rohan Dallas, is a proud grandmother, loves coffee (Jamaican, of course), loves great tasting and healthy food, love to cook and is an unabashed follower of Jesus Christ. Her books AND THE PRISONERS HEARD THEM, THE RIGHT KIND OF INTIMACY and THE BED DEFILED are available on Amazon.
I like your point of view regarding linking the “pruning” metaphor to the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
It got my attention because today, I am scheduled to cut down a huge dead tree in my backyard.
Perhaps I need to keep going…and clean out my spiritual house.
You did a good job driving that point home!