This past weekend my family and I took some time to clean up our yard. Boy, did it need it! My husband pruned some ginger and hibiscus plants that had grossly overgrown due to neglect on our part. Ginger and hibiscus plants are usually beautiful, but mine weren't. They had dead parts hanging everywhere! It was not a pretty site. I'm sure our neighbors were GLAD that we finally cleaned it up.
My sweet boys helped me clean up the dead stuff that had been cut off. Aren't they adorable? I just love 'em!
Well, as you can see, not everything that my husband cut off was brown dead stuff, but unfortunately, it had to go, too. This pruning process reminded me how God needs to prune us sometimes due to our neglect of letting things get out of hand.
"I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me." John 15:1-4 (NLT)
I admit that I sometimes let things get out of hand in my life as I allow too many things on my plate and God reminds me that it's okay for me to say "no." What about you? Is there something you need to cut off or cut out? God's goal is that we bear much fruit. This pruning process can sometimes be a little painful as we sometimes get attached to things we have to let go of, but it is vital to us being fruitful. The "dead stuff" (a/k/a dead works) are the things that keep us busy, but don't keep us fruitful and often lead to us neglecting those things that are important.
We must keep our priorities in line and pursue those things which God wants us to pursue because it is in those things that we find peace and fulfillment. A balanced life is essential to a fruitful life.
I didn't think to take a picture of the before, but here's a pic of how my yard looks now. So much better! It was worth the process. May we allow God, our gentle gardener, to cut off the dead stuff so we can bear MORE fruit for Him. Even if there's an "ouch!" at first, soon there will be an "aww...better!"