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Making Changes to Inspire New Growth
Once faith begins to grow in your life, you must maintain it like a gardener pruning his garden - inspiring new growth and abundance.
The Benefits of Pruning Your Faith
Gardening is not my specialty, but for Jesus’s followers, His parables would have rang true in their lives. And in today’s parable, it helps to understand how pruning can lead to new growth.
In John 15:1-2, Jesus said,
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit.”
When a vine is dead, there is little option but to completely remove it, but even vines that continue to bear fruit need to be pruned or trimmed back from time to time. When a plant is pruned, it actually encourages new growth in the plant.
Pruning Removes Dead Vines
Whether you like to admit it or not, there are aspects of your life that are not producing fruit. They are no benefit to you, and in many ways, may actually be robbing precious energy and nutrients from other parts of your life.
Pruning the dead vines from your life, whether they be bad habits, distractions, or even people, will allow you to focus on the parts of your life that are producing good fruit. All of your energy and focus can go into growing your faith, loving others, and making a difference in the world.
Pruning Gives Shape
Have you ever seen a bush or vine that is left to grow on its own? It will get out of control fast! A beautiful garden will become a mess within a few short seasons if it is not routinely maintained.
Plants care little about aesthetics and focus solely on reaching out for the sunlight, which causes them to grow randomly in all directions. Your faith left unmaintained will do the same. As you seek out God, you will be drawn in many directions, and although each is good, it will not allow you to thrive.
Meanwhile, a carefully manicured garden is breath-taking. The plants become works of art as they are carefully shaped into the clean shapes we expect. Likewise, carefully shaping your relationship with God helps it to grow into a more well-rounded faith, and it will become stronger and more rigid in the process - allowing you to bear even more weight from the fruit you produce.
Pruning Produces More Fruit
The pruning process actually encourages the plant to produce even more fruit as a response to the damage done. For those of us without green thumbs, it is like exercise. When you push your body through physical exercise, the muscles are actually torn, and in response to that damage, your body grows larger, stronger muscle tissue. Trimming a vine, like in Jesus’s parable, would have the same impact.
Sometimes, God will encourage that pruning process through the trials you face. The damage caused by suffering can actually lead you to new growth - it’s an opportunity to respond in faith as you face challenges.
Without struggle, it would be easy to fall into complacency, and you would have little reason to increase your faith. But as you face new challenges, your mind, heart, and soul see how faith has allowed you to overcome them, so they respond by inspiring you to seek even an deeper faith. In fact, St. Ignatius of Loyola once said,
“If God sends you many sufferings, it is a sign that He has great plans for you and certainly wants to make you a saint.” - St. Ignatius of Loyola
(This, of course, coming from the man who took a cannonball to the leg, which led him to completely giving his life over to God.)
What Pruning Do You Need to Make?
Trimming the dead vines can be difficult because you are literally attached to them, and pruning to give shape feels as if we are removing perfectly good vines for the possibility of more growth, but if you trust in God, pruning will allow your faith to produce even more fruit than you could fathom.
What pruning can you make in your life today? Share in the Comments.