In my yard I have several crape myrtle trees. Every year I watch around town for when I’m supposed to prune them. It’s usually in the winter just before spring. When it’s time, I take my clippers and start cutting back on them. If there are dead branches, I cut them off at the tree. For all the others, I trim back to a few inches from where they split off. When the spring time comes, they blossom and bloom even more than the year before.
In John 15, Jesus said that God does the same to us. He said that the branches that don’t produce fruit are cut off and thrown away. Galatians 5:22-23 tells us that the fruit we are to produce in our lives is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. When I read that, I began to think about the fruit in my life. Am I producing that fruit? How much of it am I producing? What do I need to do to produce it?
In the same passage in John, Jesus says that everyone who does produce fruit is then pruned so that they will produce more fruit. Ouch. So even if I am producing fruit, I am going to be pruned. Jesus wants us to produce more fruit all the time. He recognizes that the only way to produce more is to provide an opportunity for growth. That’s what pruning does. It trims us back so we can have a greater opportunity for growth.
Most of us don’t like or want to be pruned. When it happens, we ask God why are bad things happening to me when I’m doing everything right. We’ve all heard the question asked “Why do bad things happen to good people”. Well it happens to give you an opportunity to grow. If things aren’t happening in your life that are pruning you, that’s when you should be concerned.
If you aren’t being pruned throughout the seasons of your life, you need to find a way to start producing fruit. You need to take a hard look at your life and see what fruit you are producing. Chances are, it’s not the fruit listed above. If it were, you be getting pruned so that you would produce more. We all produce fruit in our lives. Our actions produce results. Our results show God, others and ourselves what’s important to us. There is a law of sowing and reaping.
If you sow time I to other’s lives, you will reap love. If you sow forgiveness, you will reap joy. If you sow understanding, you will reap peace. On the other hand if you sow selfishness, you will reap loneliness. If you sow bitterness, you will reap hate. What you do matters and will come back as fruit in your life. God wants us to produce good fruit in our lives so that others will be able to see Him through us.
God recognizes and knows that to produce more of the good fruit in your life, He will have to prune you. Yes, even if you ate a good producer, He knows that you can always produce more. Without pruning, we can only produce so much of each fruit. When He does prune us, He creates more opportunity to produce than ever before.
So why do bad things happen to good people? To give them the opportunity to grow and to produce more than ever before. If you are being pruned right now, stop and thank God instead of questioning Him. It means that He thinks you are producing good fruit and He has bigger plans for you. Trust in Him and in His plan for you. Handle the pruning with grace and look forward to the next time of harvest in your life.