I’ve been cut many times in my life. Mostly when I was a kid and just being stupid learning that knives cut and some knives cut fast.
Some are so sharp that you can’t even feel the cut until after it’s done. It just slices so easily and quickly and then you’re left only to be bleeding all over the place wondering how on earth you got cut. It’s a little terrifying.
One particular time I was trying to cut an apple when I was about 9/10 years old. The knife when through the apple faster than I thought it would and straight into my thumb. Today, I’ve got a nice scar right across my thumb as a memory of that day almost 30 years ago. Crazy how long scars last!
Another time, I was working construction, setting roof trusses at a house that I can’t even afford to walk into now. For any in construction type work, you’ll know what a truss gusset is and know how completely dangerous those things are. Well, I caught my index finger on one and it ripped into that finger like it was warm butter. And another scar I get to carry as stories for my kids.
Being cut is painful! And it’s because of that reality that when we consider what Jesus is really saying here in John 15 that we sort of say, huh, that’s interesting and we walk away thinking, I don’t trust that guy for anything, he just talked about cutting me
John 15:2 TPT- He prunes every fruitful branch to yield a greater harvest.
I don’t like that!
There is nothing about that line in the bible that I would ever enjoy!
It’s almost as if I want to say, Jesus, you can keep your pruning to yourself. I feel I’m good enough, there’s nothing I want to “remove”. Can’t we just be friends!? Let’s talk about this pruning bit before you start hacking away at my life.
You see we get the wrong thought about this matter of pruning.
Recently, I was doing some yard clearing. I’ve got about 8 apple trees on my property and I loathe and despise each one of them. They are awful! They’re ugly. They grow apples and then I get to mow applesauce all year. Just wonderful!
So, being a man and looking for an excuse to use a chainsaw, I grabbed it and started annihilating some of those trees.
My son, being an aspiring arborist annihilator like me, wanted in on the action and grabbed an ax and started in on another section of trees that needed to go.
Jokingly, I told them that I wished we had a machete so we could just hack away at this brush and get rid of it quickly.
That’s the imagery I get when I see Jesus talk about God pruning my life. Hacking away with a machete trying to clear all the crap out of me and my world.
I look at my life and I can see tons of crappy branches that need to go. I’m all for that! Yes God, Yes you can get rid of the selfishness. Have your way with the areas of my life that aren’t patient or kind or generous! No problem there, BUT listen to his wording. He prunes every fruitful branch.
Now just wait a minute. Why on earth would God want to cut away at the branches that are producing something good already? It’s because of the last part of that sentence, to yield a greater harvest.
Oh, come on now. You’ve got to admit, you want a piece of that action. We’ll take greater all day long.
Don’t get confused here, it doesn’t say, “more,” it says, “greater.”
We have a very difficult time in life looking at the good things we have allowed to be a part of ourselves but good things that God is pruning away from us so that he can produce a greater harvest.
You’ve got to look at this God—farmer, as a loving caring, gentle gardener who is slowly, calmly walking through your life with a very small pair of shears. He’s touching every branch, feeling the leaves, looking over the entire thing and identifying areas that have the potential of producing a greater harvest.
My that’s painful.
Have you ever had to allow something good to go away to make room for something greater?
Sometimes that is the most difficult experience of life.
I envision that so often we can feel this pruning sensation of our lives and our response is to try to hold onto whatever the Father is pruning away. We grab it and do our best to try to graft it back in, only to realize that once it has been severed, it will never be the same.
The best we can do is learn to love the shears. Learn to love the pruning.
It’s in the pruning that we become greatest. It’s also through the pruning that Jesus says, ”My purpose for telling you these things is so that the joy that I experience will fill your hearts with overflowing gladness.” John 15:11 TPT
Wow. With that promise, I most certainly can learn to love the shears. Can you?