Pruned if I Do and Pruned if I Don’t

One day awhile back, when things weren’t going so hot, It occurred to me that if I were to wait for everything to go right to be happy, I may never be happy. You know how life can be, it’s often laden with disappointments, inconveniences, and just general frustrations. I’m beginning to realize that I can be happy every day in spite of my circumstance, if I make it a point to be.
Jesus says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” [John 15:1-2] You see, I’m pruned if I do and I’m pruned if I don’t, so I might as well make the most of things.
God allows trials, troubles, and temptations in our lives to prune us. He lovingly snips away any weak, diseased, and dead wood, carefully shaping us into the image that will bring Him the most glory. It is through this pruning process that we develop the fruit of His spirit which is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.
This is uncomfortable of course, yet necessary. We must remember that if we suffer for righteousness sake we should be happy, and not afraid of the terror, nor be troubled. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that we suffer for doing well , rather than for doing evil. For Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, and we being put to death in the flesh, are quickened by His Spirit. [I Peter 3:14&17-18]
I’m guessing that this pruning process may not be a pleasant task for God either. Out of all the garden chores I have to do, I find pruning to be the hardest. It’s not the hardest physically, but, it just breaks my heart to go hacking away at my favorite flower bushes and fruit trees. I go through the same reluctance every spring. This year I put it off so long that I almost missed the entire season. I knew I didn’t want to do that though, because a few years back I didn’t prune at all, and my plants only yielded a fraction of their potential growth.
So I guess this law of nature applies to us as well. In order for us to grow at our best we must also endure some seasonal pruning. Just like in the garden, we toil, but it is God who gives the increase. Jesus says, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches: He that stays in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing. [John 15:4-5]
So I suppose I will endure this pruning with total faith and trust in the vinedresser. He purchased me at tremendous personal cost, so I know that He has only my best interest in mind. Not to mention that it sure beats the alternative. Jesus goes on to say, ” If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” [ John 15:6] So you see, I have a choice. I can allow myself to be pruned by loving hands, or be loped off due to lack of increase.
Christ also says, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you. Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be my disciples.”[John 15:7-8] Since I’m pruned if I do and pruned if I don’t, I might as well choose life, with joy! I am most happy when I bring glory and honor to my Father, the vinedresser. After all, thats what I was created for in the first place.

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