Pruning to Increase Fruit

Written by Jenny
Pruning is a process that helps trees or plants to grow bigger, fuller and bear more fruit.  The dead, diseased or unnecessary branches are cut off so that more water and nutrients can be directed to the healthy branches and more fruit will be produced.  The pruning process can also be applied in a spiritual sense.  Jesus talks about cutting off the people who claim to follow Him but who are not producing fruit.  He says in John 15:2 that the Father, “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.”  This verse makes it clear that the believers that bear fruit will go through the pruning process so that they will bear even more fruit.  It’s a process we should find desirable but we often find it hard to take.  We want to embrace the fruit in our lives but we don’t want to feel the pain of letting things go that do not bear fruit.

The truth is that we get so busy in our daily lives doing good things that we often miss the most important things.  We get distracted by long to do lists that stretch on and on.  For example, a busy mom might get caught up in an extended visit with a friend or spend extra time on social media and at the end of the day she hasn’t spent any quality time with her children.  How about a working mom or dad who has things that really should be done at the office before leaving for the day but his/her family was expecting them to pick up pizza and join them for a family movie night.  We are constantly making choices and every choice for one thing is a choice against another.  The reality is that some things in life are more important than others but we often don't analyze what is most valuable and we hardly ever ask the Lord how He wants us to spend our time.  We all get stressed out, overworked and overwhelmed but this is not at all what God intended for our lives.  When I run to God and ask Him why I'm feeling stressed and I ask Him what I should do about it He tells me this: "You must evaluate what to cut by what is not producing fruit".
  
  
I had an off day, it happened to be a Tuesday, and I was feeling all out of sorts.  Nothing seemed right and I didn’t feel like myself.  At the end of the day my husband wisely prayed for me and said, “Why don’t you go to sleep and pray about it in the morning.”  I actually didn’t sleep well and found myself waking up in the early morning on Wednesday to pray about my situation.    I got out my prayer journal and poured out my heart to the Lord.  The Holy Spirit had reminded me of a dream I had on Monday night (the night before my bad day) where I asked a lady how old her children were.  She said she wasn’t sure and I should ask her husband because he stayed home with them.  I was appalled at the woman in the dream not knowing the ages of her children.  When I woke up on Tuesday morning I thought the dream was probably a confirmation of feelings I had had lately of not spending enough time with my precious children.  I thought to myself that on that day things would be different and I would make sure to spend quality time with my youngsters that day.  Well we had homeschool co-op and then we came home and needed to make up work from the day before, then I checked email and realized I had overdue books so my husband and I made a trip to the library.  Then it was dinner time, then more distractions and before you know it the whole day had passed and the quality time I was hoping fore had also passed away.  The whole day was off and I felt terrible by the end of the day but I couldn’t put my finger on what had happened.  Until the Holy Spirit woke me up the next morning (Wednesday) and gently invited me to pray about it.  As I pressed in to see what the Lord had to say about it He told me this:

“I’m proud of you for listening to me and seeking answers when things seem off.  Continue to seek truth when your day seems rotten.  You know how a stinky diaper or rotting trash can make a room smell funky?  That’s what lies from the enemy or failure to walk with the prompting of my spirit can do to your personal atmosphere.  It just makes it off.  So when you sense that odor of something is wrong you should stop and ask Holy Spirit, “What lie am I believing?” or “What have you already asked me to do that I am not doing?”  Sometimes it isn’t a lie from the enemy it’s just that you have gotten off the path a little and stepped in a pile of poop.  So you just need to scrape it off and jump back onto my path of peace and goodness.  Pay attention to those unpleasant emotions.  Don’t let them drive your car but don’t thrown them in the trunk and keep on driving either.  Stop to examine your shoe for poop.  Don’t worry, I will tell you the truth. 
                                                                          I love you Jenny!                                                                                                           Holy Spirit"
  
So I was convicted of not following the prompting of the Holy Spirit that day and I scraped that poop off of my shoe and started a new day.  I did what God has told me to do the day before.  It was a new day and I was going to start fresh and make it count.  I made a short list of things I had to do that day.  It included school with the kids, paying some bills and going grocery shopping.  Then I made another list called “Holy Spirit List” and on that list I asked Holy Spirit what He wanted me to do that day.  On that list I felt prompted to write, time with kids and write lessons on this website.  I did the, “must do” things for the day and then I went to the pool with my kids.  It was just me and my kids, no other friends to distract us.  We had a great time!  I’m currently writing this lesson for the website but I feel a pull to spend more time with my kids.  So I hope you will excuse me while I go make a pillow fort, play a game or watch a movie.  My kids will only be young once and I don’t want to regret the time I didn’t spend with them.