Sunday, June 6, 2021

Pruning the Wrong Way

Can you believe that these two pictures are both crape myrtles? The ugly tree on the left was pruned incorrectly, while the beautiful one on the right was pruned correctly. The purpose of pruning is to cut off diseased, damaged or unproductive branches to make the tree more fruitful and beautiful. The goal is to make it look like the tree on the right.
Why would anyone butcher a beautiful tree and make it look like the ugly, knotty stump on the left? It’s because the people pruning it didn’t know what they were doing. They watched their neighbors cut off the tops of their crape myrtles and copied them, without researching how to correctly prune the tree. Mis-pruning is a common problem that horticulturalists call “crape murder.”
No one would ever prune an oak tree by cutting the trunk off horizontally, but crape murderers will keep cutting off the multiple trunks horizontally each year (which creates the big knots) and never let the tree grow up vertically like the beautiful tree.
Jesus said, “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2). God wants to prune away the harmful habits like gossip, negative talk, and toxic relationships, which keep us from being the beautiful, fruitful person that He intends us to be.
But some people, like the ugly stump, prune off the wrong branches. They stop reading God’s Word, praying, and fellowshipping with other believers. They’re cutting off the things that are necessary to promote healthy growth and spiritual fruit. You can decide which one you will end up looking like. It all depends on what you prune away.
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