Fruit, More Fruit, Much Fruit
John 15:8, 16
I lived for a while in the mountains of North Carolina, in a place that was known as Fruitland. The area got that name because it was—and still is—apple country. I once went to visit a member of my church there, and his wife told me he was out in the orchard, pruning trees. So I walked out to watch. Not knowing any better, I said, “Man, you’re going to kill that tree.” He turned to look at me and said, “You stick to preaching. I’ll take care of the pruning.”
Later I learned that in order to produce a good crop, the tree branches had to be pruned. It’s a lesson I have never forgotten, because it also applies to our spiritual lives. Sometimes we argue with God when bad times hit and we are hurting. We assume He must not love us if He would allow such painful things to happen. But what the Lord is actually doing is pruning us so that we will bear quality fruit; then He prunes us again for more fruit, and finally He prunes us for much fruit. If a branch continues to grow without being cut back, lots of little shoots will emerge from it and draw away the sap’s life-giving sustenance.
Little things in life can be like those shoots, thwarting our fruitfulness: Sometimes we allow our kindness to depend on how we feel when we wake up in the morning; we might let a bad habit develop; or perhaps we allow our peace to get wrapped up in our circumstances. But if we accept God’s pruning with the proper attitude, the Holy Spirit’s sap will nurture the fruit in our life.
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