Do you like to eat prunes? I'm not sure I've ever just sat down and eaten a prune but they're supposed to be good for you. I know my wife likes to sneak "healthy things" into her baking now and again so I can't really say for sure if I've ever eaten them or not. Actually, you know, now that I think about it, I think my wife DID slip some prunes into some chocolate cake once. I remember the cake TASTING okay but shortly there after . . . well. Let me just say that prunes can have a "purging" effect on one's body. MAYBE the prunes were healthy but the after effects were "uncomfortable."
Speaking of "purging," have you ever gotten in one of those moods when you just want to get rid of all the clutter in your house? I get that way every now and then. I'll ask myself things like "When was the last time I used this?" Pitch! Or "What am I saving THIS for?" Toss. It can be very good to purge outselves of all the junk in our lives.
Have you ever had someone purge your stuff for you? I have. I used to have a pair of cut-off jeans. After I blew holes in both knees of my favorite pair of jeans I cut off the legs at the knee and made shorts out of them. I thought I was being thrifty - getting the most "mileage" out of my jeans. Made perfect sense to ME.
However, my wife didn't like them very much. One could say she hated them. It wasn't long before they simply disappeared. I put them in the laundry basket one day and they never returned. Now that they're gone I don't really miss them. I probably look more "normal" walking around in the front yard. But I KNOW my wife feels better about things.
Have you ever been pruned? Do you NEED pruning? Has God ever pruned something from your little portion of His vine? Do we even notice it? Is there some bad habit we need to get rid of? Smoking? Drinking too much? Eating too much? God has a way of pruning us in ways that are not always comfortable for us. Lung cancer, being arrested for drunk driving, heart attacks. These things can get our attention and force us to look at ourselves.
As I look at MY life I can see a few areas where I could use a little trim. The first one that pops into my head is television. I try to not watch any shows that are not honoring to God in some way. That's most shows I think. But even the ones I consider "safe" contain commercials that are not. They just pop up without any prior notification as to their content. Do I need to prune this particular branch from my life?
Facebook is another. I probably spend too much time scrolling down through all of the posts I see every day. And although it's true I search mainly for opportunities to witness to people or to come to the aid of a friend, the time spent scrolling could be spent reading or studying His Word.
If we look at our lives I'm sure we ALL could find a few things to trim here or there. Scripture says we are to examine ourselves, test ourselves (2 Corinthians 15:3). If we don't "self-trim" the vinedresser will do it for us, and that could hurt a wee bit.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full." - John 15:1:11
New Year's Day is coming up in a few weeks. A time we traditionally make those to-often-temporary, self-help resolutions. I challenge you, and myself, to make a self-pruning resolution this coming January. And make it stick. We have the power to handle any pruning that might come our way . . . through Christ. It is in Him and through Him that we find hope. He is the only way we can stay out of the fire!
The following is a video of a present day vine dresser. He knows exactly what he must do to get the most fruit. He removes the non productive portions of the vine. And so it is with God.
How and Why to Strip Leaves from Grape Vines