Without fail, each Summer I pay particular attention to pruning my butterfly bush in order to maximize the butterfly activity, especially in the Fall when the Monarchs migrate through. Without pruning the dead heads, the new fragrant flowers will not continue to fruitfully produce. Without the fragrance of the new blooms, there are no butterflies.
Much is the same for our lives. Pruning happens according to the will of God in our lives. “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.” (John 15:2)
Though pruning is ultimately a good thing, it can be painful at the same time. Because God has this glorious plan for your life and mine, often it is necessary for Him to skillfully and lovingly prune areas that interfere with this plan…things that distract us and are no value to our God-given purpose, like the dead flowers serving no use on my butterfly bush.
As the verse above states, sometimes God cuts off whole branches. Ouch! Sometimes those branches seem to be bearing fruit in our opinion, yet that fruit is of no value in God’s kingdom. Kingdom fruit is truly all that matters. In casting aside these branches, God shows us the greatest favor. No longer will we waste time tending to matters that are of no true significance. We are directed toward His plan for us here on earth.
How we handle this is up to us. We can fight these times of pruning, screaming every step of the way because, yes, it can be painful letting go of the kingdom we are building. But trust me, you will be nothing but miserable hanging onto those branches that God has pruned. Let go and walk away from these dead things not intended for your life!
Next God, in His great love, directs His attention to the branches that are fruitful, gently pruning these in order to bring about an even greater abundance of fruit for Kingdom purposes. My favorite verse, Jeremiah 29:11, speaks directly to this scenario, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord; plans to prosper you and not to harm your. Plans to give you a hope and a future.”
When we faithfully accept this pruning to prosper us and not to harm us, the love of God is able to shine through us greater than before. The fragrant sweetness of His spirit will draw others to you just as the flowers draw the butterflies. As my Summer is filled with times of pruning these butterfly bushes, our lives are constantly undergoing times of pruning for God’s glory. As you see the benefits of pruning, you will object less.
A couple of weeks ago there were fourteen Monarch butterflies on my bush. Today there was only one. Still for the beauty of that one, it was worth my efforts. For the impact your freshly pruned life might have on even one person for the Lord, every cut of God’s choosing will be eternally worth it. Seek His will and trust in His love and plan for your life. Let go and let God. To God Be the Glory!