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Just as I prune my garden, Jesus removes the parts of my life that hinder my spirit's growth.
“Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.” Galatians 5:24 MSG)
In my perennial garden this week, green tips push back the cold earth like a curtain, tremulously beginning to sprout. On a warm spring day, I get to work with my pruning shears. Many of my flowers have tall beige spikes, dry and strawlike, towering above the tender shoots.
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The best way for me to help my perennials grow is to cut away those dead branches. The iris plants have wispy ash-blond ribbons curled around the new green shoots—last year’s dead leaves. I gently pull them away and cast them on the compost pile. No one would accuse me of hurting my plants with this pruning. What is dead must be removed, in order to make room for life.
Similarly, what feels like life—getting my own way—will actually kill my spirit unless I submit to God’s pruning, letting Him remove the sin in my life. Our selfish ambitions, our mindless consumption and advertising-driven appetites—these are the dead stalks blocking new growth in our lives. The things we cling to are chaff—dry, useless and a hindrance.
If we belong to Christ, if we really are beloved children, we must trust that Jesus has our best interest at heart when He takes away what we think we want. He’s really simply creating space so we can grow, blossom and bear fruit.
Faith Step: What “necessities” do you think Jesus wants to kill off or prune from your life? Where are you insisting on your own way, so much so that it hinders your growth?
Keri Wyatt Kent is the author of many devotionals, including Simple Compassion and Oxygen. She writes and speaks to help people slow down, simplify, and rest so that they can listen to God. Keri is a member of Willow Creek Community Church, where she has taught, led groups and volunteered in a variety of ministries for more than two decades. She and her husband, Scot, live with their teenage son and daughter in Illinois.