Thinking patterns can autopilot us into a jungle of destruction. With the loving care of a gardener, pruning takes place. We need to trust in a loving God that desires to prune and shape our lives for the fruit of love, joy, and peace.
‘I’m sorry but I am going to have to prune quite hard’.
I have said this so many times.
In my gardening business, I am often asked to come and prune some fruit trees, hedges, roses, etc.
Unfortunately, the tree has often been left to its own natural tendencies and it has grown and grown and grown.
The owner had not noticed the gradual, but predictable change.
If only they had done a little bit of pruning every year drastic action would not have been needed.
To change your emotions, first,
get control of your thoughts.
Ruts of the mind become
moods of the heart.
Sometimes I can take it slowly and prune it back a little bit each year, but more often I have to go in hard and take it back to where we can start again.
The owner has to trust me in what I am doing.
I reassure them that I have done this many times before and that although it may seem harsh it is what is needed.
Lots of fruit but nothing of value
When you don’t prune you may get lots of flowers and fruit but the size and quality are small because all the energy from the tree has gone into growing the tree rather than into the fruit.
That tree is only doing what is natural to it. It’s designed to grow. It’s in its DNA.
A wise gardener comes and tends the tree. They prune, feed, water and nurture the tree so that it will grow in such a manner that it will bear lots of good quality fruit.
That is what I want for you.
I want to see in you the brilliance of Gods creativity shining through in everything you do.
There is nothing more satisfying for a gardener, to have at the end of a growing season, some beautiful fruit to enjoy.
They know that they have been part of something wondrous and divine.
Something mysterious has happened, and they were invited to be part of it.
The real fruit
We get messages every day of what success looks like.
Money, fame, beauty, travel, possessions, name your weakness.
Yet, I would suggest those are fake fruit.
Much like those plastic apples and oranges that looked so shiny on my grandmother’s sideboard.
Plastic with no substance. Lightweight disclosing the reality of their emptiness.
Paul wrote to a group of people living in the Roman province of Galatia.
They were being told to follow a set of rules if they were to get things right, especially with God.
If you do this, this and this then God will come through, and life will be sweet as a peach on a summers day.
Paul describes real fruit differently.
But what happens when we live God’s way?
He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like Love ( an affection for others), Joy (an exuberance about life), and Peace (serenity).
We develop patience (a willingness to stick with things), kindness (a sense of compassion in the heart), and generosity (a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people).
We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments (faithfulness), not needing to force our way in life (gentleness), and the ability to marshal and direct our energies wisely (self-control).
Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way.
Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified. Galatians 5:22-24 The Message (MSG)
To get the real fruit – Love, Joy, Peace
To get the fruit, we don’t focus on the fruit; we focus on the tree.
Healthy fruit comes from a healthy tree.
I have heard so many sermons that have focused on all that lovely fruit of love, joy, peace, etc.
However, they are the outcome of a nurtured and cared for tree. Paul says that it is the fruit of the Spirit.
It is the result of a life that has been nurtured and cared for by Spirit (Holy).
Show me someone who exhibits fruitfulness that speaks to the soul, and you will see someone who has had much pruning, sometimes harsh.
They have spent time being watered and fed by Gods word and truth.
They have dug their roots into knowing God and when wild storms came, they have bent but not broken.
In essence, they have trusted in something divine, mysterious, bigger than themselves to bring about fruit to bless others.
A prayer to pray.
Dear God, I both trust you, and I am learning to trust you.
Prune off what is not needed. It may have served me for a while, but in your divine wisdom, it is no longer needed.
Feed and nourish my deepest places.
Those subconscious places that are only fully known to you.
May Spirit flow through all of my being.
I so desire more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
I realize that these only flow out of a life that is given over to being pruned, trained and shaped by you.
I trust you, and I am learning to trust you.
Quotes to consider
- ‘The chief thief is the belief beneath’ The subconscious is always the power behind the decisions we make & the outcomes we experience. David Riddell
- You can’t outthink your subconscious Dr. Shannon Irvine
- Supernatural goals need supernatural resources. Dr. Larry Crabb
- Improvement of our lives begins with the renewing of our minds, which is begun in turn by challenging old beliefs and childhood conclusions. David Riddell
Questions to answer
- What fake fruit (plastic imitations) have you gone after?
- What is the riskiest part of the prayer above?
- How have your thinking patterns autopiloted you into a jungle of confusion?