Pam Otto, GFC Lutz 

I opened the mail and found a “FRIENDLY REMINDER OF A VIOLATION NOTICE” from our neighborhood HOA. Yikes. It appeared our tree by the front sidewalk was overgrown and had ‘low lying branches that were not enhancing our community’. Whoops. I certainly am not a rule breaker and felt slightly embarrassed by the reprimand. So, I quickly got my hubby on board with the trimming task at hand.

Last weekend my husband grabbed the ladder, threw a handsaw on his shoulder, climbed the tree like a pro and began cutting the unwanted branches. My job was to stand at a distance and point out the areas that needed attention…(Ha! We are good at that, aren’t we?!)

One trimmed branch turned into two, three, four, five, etc. Once the pruning started, it was hard to stop saying “Just one more!” There were large branches, small ones, new growth, and old. After lots of cutting, sweat, and hard work, the once overgrown tree that violated our sidewalk was now trimmed, lean, spacious, and so much prettier.

This whole process reminded me of the random pruning that goes on in my life, and yours too.
John 15:2 says “He cuts every branch of mine that does not produce fruit. He also trims every branch that produces fruit to prepare it to produce even more.”

When pruning our tree, I read that regular trimming of branches keeps trees strong, creates a healthier structure, and reduces the need for future corrective pruning. Interesting…Isn’t this similar to what happens in our lives?

The regular trimming or pruning done by our loving Father is for our correction, for good fruit to be produced, and for a better harvest in the long run. Do you recall a time when you have been pruned? When God has cut or taken away something that you knew had to be removed? Maybe some bad habits or sinful patterns that needed to be cut away? I have a long list of unnecessary branches that have been cut off in certain seasons of my life, some of which include negativity, harsh words, selfishness, judgment, and enduring hardships with others in my life.

I’m so glad that God doesn’t leave us on our own but chooses to use every opportunity to shape us into the likeness of Jesus. One of my favorite verses is Philippians 1:6 which says, “I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
So, next time you notice an overgrown tree with low lying branches or feel like you are in a pruning season yourself, know that God has much purpose in it all and has a future harvest of good fruit in store for you!

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