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I have a beautiful plant that a friend gave me a couple years ago. It started out as only two branches, and while one branch thrived, the other became weak and small. When I asked my mom how to treat the sick branch, she informed me that I must cut the longer branch and replant it because its roots were choking the smaller branch.
That terrified me! What if I lost the entire plant?
At the time, I would rather have had one long, beautiful branch than no plant at all. In the end, I followed her advice and now I have a beautiful, full plant that I prune often.
Essentially, what looked healthy on the outside was actually very sick under the soil. John 15:2 extols:
He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunesso that it will be even more fruitful.
“Prune” in that verse is the Greek word Kathairo, which means pure, clean, without stain, and without spot. To kathairo is to cleanse from filth, purify, and remove defilement or imperfections. It may seem like an oxymoron, but in order to truly grow, we must constantly prune away dead leaves and cut back overgrown branches. We must be willing to cut out all that God reveals as impure in our life if we want to truly grow in Him.
Who are you allowing to do your gardening? 1 Corinthians 15:33 teaches us that “bad company corrupts good character”. Do not allow just anyone to do your pruning; the only suitable gardener is God.