“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” JOHN 15:2 NKJV 

Master gardeners train plants to mature to their fullest potential. They know pruning is necessary for healthy growth. Most plants need pruning in spring to clear away the dead residue of winter and make room for new life to flourish. If a gardener left dead branches and limbs, it would be difficult for new shoots to grow, and the plant wouldn’t thrive. 

Sometimes more than dead branches are removed. Live branches get pruned, too. This tells the plant where to grow and concentrate its nutrients. Keeping a few of the healthiest limbs creates less strain for the plant and promotes more abundant growth because each one receives more nourishment. 

God has the same wisdom and vision for us. He takes away the branches that don’t bear fruit and aren’t serving us anymore: branches of past hurts, unrealized dreams, broken relationships. We hang on to these branches tight like lifelines. We don’t realize the branches are hollow and empty, ready to snap if we put the weight of our hope on them. 

He sees the strongest areas of our lives—perhaps strengths we don’t even recognize in ourselves—and prunes those branches to make room for more abundant growth. We hang on to these branches tightly, too. Our jobs, our friends, our money and possessions. We’re afraid if we lose any of what we have, we’ll never get it back. We don’t see God at work ready to do so much more in us than we could ever imagine. 

Pruning is purposeful. It’s training, not punishment. At first, it may sting, but we can trust the Master Gardener with the pruning shears. He knows where to trim and what to leave intact for our growth and flourishing. We know that His pruning works in ways we can’t see, preparing new life in us and equipping us for what He has in store. 

Father, thank You for seeing the areas of my life that aren’t bearing good fruit or could bear more fruit. Help me trust You when I want to hang on to my lifelines. Show me how to let go so my faith can grow. 

This is an excerpt from Playing in the Dirt: 90 Devotions for Crazy Plant Ladies a new devotional journal now available for pre-order on DaySpring.com. Shop all books, journals, and devotions from DaySpring here.