He's Pruning Our Souls

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I'm trying out my green thumb this spring. Our kitchen window is covered with blooming orchids, basil, and cilantro. The little green sprouts popped up and continue to grow. My daily routine now includes watering their hungry roots.

The flowering season for the orchid Joseph gave me is almost over, and just one little bloom holds its place on the branches. A few weeks ago, the leaves at the base of the plant turned a sickly yellow. When Joseph watered them one day, the dying leaf broke off in his hand. Pretty soon, I plucked another sickly leaf off the plant. I was worried that I'd continue to have to do this to all of the leaves, slowly watching the orchid wither away. But this weekend, to my delight, a little leaf sprouted at the base of the orchid - new life. 

Read more: What an Orchid Taught Me About Christ

I'm reminded of my growing green thumb when I recently dug into the Gospel of John. Although I'm just starting to nurture these little plants, tucked safety away in their miniature terracotta planters, the Lord's gardening takes place on a much bigger scale. While I tend to little cilantro sprouts, the Lord is tending to our hearts and souls. 

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
— John 15: 1-2

He's pruning us - cutting away that which keeps us from growing. He's shaping us into the daughters and sons we were created to be. But pruning isn't always a pleasant experience. I imagine a gardener brandishing his shears. He cuts deep into the vine.

It would be easy to put away the shears, to let the vine grow as it pleases. But without the pain, the vine can't grow. Without a clearing away of the rotten and dead, new life can't sprout. 

In the book of Hebrews, Saint Paul tells us that 'at the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet it later brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it."

Christ share the parable of the vine with His disciples while they are all gathered in the upper room. He's preparing them for what is to come.

Christ will leave the safety of the upper room and journey to the garden. He'll sweat drops of blood, ask for God's will to be done, and climb the hill to Calvary.

He'll die of a broken heart, abandoned by almost all who loved Him during His time on earth. Yet He invites His disciples to be pruned by the Father, to embrace their own cross and suffering.

What is the result of the pruning? The peaceful fruit of righteousness. 

What does the Father need to prune from your life so that it bears more fruit? It could be that He's asking to cut into the lies that the devil sown, the falsehoods the deceiver has told you about your story. Perhaps He is asking you to let go of the plans you had for your life in exchange for His vision of pruning. Maybe He is clearing away past hurts in order to make room for fresh sprouts, the new growth of grace in your soul. 

Are you afraid of the the Father and His pruning? Abide in the reality of Christ as the vine. He tells His disciples that He is the true vine. In Greek, the word word 'true', alethine, translates to being dependable, genuine, and real. Christ is the true vine, the God that is going to show up and keep His promises. 

Lord, give us the grace to abide in the reality of you as the true vine. Inspire in us a confidence that is unshakable. Prune away anything in our lives that is hindering us from becoming more like you. Help our lives bear fruit that will remain.