When I first started gardening the idea of pruning was intimidating to me. How do you know where to prune? Doesn’t it hurt the bush or tree?
Now, I’m amazed at how pruning works. It’s like saying, “Nope, that’s a dead-end ” and the shrub or tree will then grow in a new way. It doesn’t stop or limit growth because new growth is always happening.
God works a similar way in our lives. God lovingly shows us where the dead-end roads are in life so that we can avoid wasting energy going that way. These dead-end roads consist of materiality – material living and thinking – such as a love of money, looking to material possessions for satisfaction, looking to a human being to complete us, looking to a human body to tell us how happy and healthy we are, and comparing ourselves with others to determine how successful we are. These are just a few but there are many dead-end roads we may discover.
Christ Jesus advised, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14 NIV)
When you prune a shrub, you are helping the shrub to fulfill its purpose. You probably planted the shrub for a reason: to help create privacy or to cover something unattractive or just to have something lively and pretty to enjoy. Whatever the reason is, pruning – and starting early on – will help the plant grow into something beautiful and useful.
God’s pruning of our thought takes a way thoughts and desires that would be harmful to us and others so that we can have productive, beautiful and useful thoughts. These thoughts are then expressed in right actions and exemplified in our lives.