Christian / sanctification / The Mapps Quest

Prune Me

A while back I met a lady named Teresa.  If you have followed my blog for a while you will remember that she is the one I spoke to when I was at the women’s retreat, and quit smoking.  She is all about fitness and asked if I wanted to be on her mailing list.  Of course I said yes, and this week she sent out the most encouraging email.. I needed it!  I asked, and she said it was cool for me to share.. so here it is.. enjoy!!

Dear Fitness Sisters,

I have a pear tree in my front yard. Two years ago, I had so many pears that I made a pear apple crisp every week and gave about a hundred of them away to neighbors. Last year, the squirrels discovered them, and would take a bite or two out of them before they were ripe and throw them on the ground. We were picking up 30 discarded unripe pears each day from under the tree! This year, my pear tree developed something called “fire blight” and the leaves turned black little by little. I consulted a gardening store and was told that we had to cut off all of the branches with black leaves, taking care to dip the loppers into hydrogen peroxide to sterilize them after each cut, then spray the tree with a fungicide. After pruning, most of the tree was gone! And spraying the tree worked somewhat, but more black leaves appeared, so we had to repeat the process again.

Where are we in our lives, little pear trees? Are we fruitful, bearing enough fruit for many? Are we producing fruit that is unripe, stolen, and discarded? Or are we in the middle of a pruning period? Are we like my pear tree, with parts of our lives cut off to the point of being just a remnant of our former selves?

I think we all go through different periods of the Lord pruning us to bear even more healthy fruit in the future. By definition, to prune is:

1. to cut or lop off (twigs, branches, or roots).
2. to cut or lop superfluous or undesired twigs, branches, or roots from; trim.
3. to rid or clear of (anything superfluous or undesirable).
4. to remove (anything considered superfluous or undesirable).

And from the University of Minnesota’s horticulture web page:

Reasons for pruning

Many problems may be prevented by pruning correctly during formative years for a tree or shrub.

Prune to promote plant health

Remove dead or dying branches injured by disease, severe insect infestation, animals, storms, or other adverse mechanical damage.

Prune to maintain plants; intended purposes in a landscape, such as:

encouraging flower and fruit development, maintaining a dense hedge, or maintaining a desired tree form or special garden forms.

OK, so if we’re in the middle of the pruning process, where we just seem to have several things taken away from us, there’s a reason! I know I tend to get upset or depressed when nothing seems to be working out in my life, but I need to keep in mind that pruning (especially in the formative years) helps prevent future problems! And gets rid of dead, diseased, infectious things. And best of all, pruning encourages fruit development! And we’re pruned to maintain a desired purpose set by the Master Gardener, God Himself! If you’re not seeing fruit in your life, or it’s unripe fruit, or if you feel like your life is falling apart – take heart – you might be a little pear tree getting pruned!

And once you’re pruned by the Lord, who makes sure to sterilize after each cut, we need to make sure to apply the fungicide – the Word of God – liberally to avoid any repeat infections (from the devil and the world).

Look for the fruit of the Spirit:

Galatians 5:22

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, self-control.

Otherwise we might end up like:

Jude 1:12

The apostate (those who have left their faith), depraved, and doomed are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots

And remember, pruning is to remove diseased branches that can cause several health problems. It’s a PHYSICAL thing! Yep, we need to prune away all of the excuses that keep us from exercise, so we don’t end up with health problems.  “It’s too hot”, “I don’t want to sweat”, “It’s too hard to work out”, “I don’t have time to exercise”, “I don’t like exercise”, “I’ll start tomorrow”, “I hate jumping, running, or bouncing”, “I can’t possibly lift more than a fork”, “I don’t know where to start with fitness”……GET RID OF THESE EXCUSES!

Time for a little pain of pruning, and you’ll be bearing fruit – the fruit of good health, endorphins to elevate your mood, being height /weight proportionate, having more energy, honoring God with your body, etc…..Who knows? Maybe even leading an exercise class at a church retreat!

Being pruned with the best of them…for His glory,

Teresa

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