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My Father is the Gardener

02 June 2024


Pruning!!!  Think garden for a moment – it’s satisfying cutting off dead branches to make room for new life.  Pruning a bush that is already fruitful is a different matter.  How much do I prune it?  Am I radical and cut it right back?  Or just take a little off?


I’m not an all-round-the-year avid gardener.  I potter in the warmer months, mainly pulling up weeds that grow far too quickly in our wet British climate.  I like filling the pots on the patio with a splash of colour and watching my one and only rose bush burst into life in May.


One thing I have learned over the years is the importance of pruning.  In the garden of our previous house we had a very large Fuchsia bush, over 6 feet (2m) tall and as wide.  Our garden wasn’t huge, and this bush was.  I loved the beautiful flowers, but it was taking up too much room, so at the end of one summer I cut it right back to about one foot. 


Every time I looked out of the kitchen window over the following winter months and the start of spring, I wondered if I had killed it!  Then suddenly, green shoots began to appear, and it began to grow.  As it grew higher and higher, it grew thicker and thicker and then by summer there was a burst of beautiful flowers, far more than any previous year.


My extreme pruning had led to a much more beautiful plant.


Let’s look at John 15:1-2 (NIV)

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 


Jesus uses this example of pruning to show how the Father is continually at work in our lives.


A gardener tends to his garden.  He pulls up the weeds, he plants seeds, he re-pots seedlings into bigger pots, he feeds and waters the plants … and he prunes.


Cutting off dead branches is obvious.  They are not going to bear fruit.  They have become brittle and they snap easily.  They also cause the rest of the plant to look unhealthy.


There are areas in our own lives that don’t bear fruit.  As we grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, He shows us areas that are not bringing Him glory.  We need to learn to be quick to repent, and to let Him change us.  2 Corinthians 3:18 says “… (we) are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory …”


The areas we tend to find difficult are those where we are bearing fruit.  The Father still wants to prune what is fruitful so that we bear more fruit.  Thankfully, our Heavenly Father is not as drastic as I was with the Fuchsia bush.  However, when I’m going through a season where He is highlighting areas where my flesh life is affecting the fruit I am bearing, I need to allow His pruning.


Pruning hurts our flesh life, the part of us that puts “me” first, that says “what about me?” or “look at me”.


MercyMe capture this in their song “So Long Self”:


Well, if I come across a little bit distant, it's just because I am
Things just seem to feel a little bit different, you understand
Believe it or not, but life is not apparently about me anyways
But I have met the One who really is worthy, so let me say


So long self
Well, it's been fun, but I have found somebody else
So long self
There's just no room for two, so you are gonna have to move
So long self
Don't take this wrong, but you are wrong for me, farewell
Oh well, goodbye, don't cry
Oh, so long self


John 15:3 tells us we are already clean.  As a born again, sanctified, cleansed believer we still need to learn, to change, to be adjusted, to be corrected.  This doesn’t mean we have somehow become dirty or tainted because there is still part of our “self” life that needs to be pruned.  The pruning is about us being more fruitful.


As we abide with Him, we discover more and more about the depths of His love.  As we discover more about His love for us, we allow ourselves to be pruned.  As we are pruned, we bear more fruit for Him because we love Him and obey His commands.  We learn to put others before ourselves and we love as Jesus loved us.

Photo of Claire Morton

Claire Morton
GoChurch Global