Pruning – Not a Pleasant Experience!

Keith Pate

It is that time of year….pruning trees, pulling winter weeds and cleaning out flower beds in preparation for springs awakening call. Last weekend, I joined that merry band of gardeners as I worked on one troublesome Crepe Myrtle Tree in our back yard. The tree bordering our rear fence has not been pruned for the past couple of years. As a result, our neighbors wild honey suckle vine and our crepe myrtle decided to entwine themselves into a mangled monstrosity that vexed my wife most especially with irksome irritation. That irritation was then transferred to me, when I reluctantly began to prune and disentangle the bothersome bond that said Crepe Myrtle and vine had conceived.

At first, I began cutting away at the Crepe Myrtle with old fashioned lopping shears. That was an exacerbating skirmish of sweat and sheer determination in and of itself. Next, the dueling conflict with the creeping, intrusive, villainous vine, but my tenacious perseverance in the matter insisted I be victorious, no matter the cost! Come scratch, scrape or tired muscles, I was insistent on winning this wearisome battle! After three or more hours of grueling effort a grand slam victory was mine! Yay!! The pruning was complete and the vine disengaged and sprayed with weed killer. At least this battle is temporarily won, though at some future date the pestering vine will return to engage me in yet another bedeviling attack!

Hebrews 12: 1-3 reminds us to beware of sin that so easily entangles us and wreaks havoc in our lives.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Sin entangles us sometimes quickly… and sometimes incrementally over a long period of time; it is much like the vine I described. After it has embedded itself in the branches of our lives, it is extremely difficult to break free. The tree itself is powerless to remove the treacherous vine which if left unchecked eventually will choke and kill it. There must be an outside source to come in and detach the vine from the tree. In our lives, that is Jesus Christ. He is the only solution to our Sin problem! He is the Master Gardener (John 15). The pruning He provides is sometimes messy and laborious, but in the end it breathes life into our otherwise death sentenced soul! We must submit to His pruning for He will not force it upon us. Through this act of submission we find true freedom through God’s amazing grace!

Praise God for our Master Gardener who prunes with perfection!


Keith Pate About Keith Pate

Keith is originally from Castleberry, AL in Conecuh County. He joined Eastern Hills as Minister of Music in January of 2005 from Anastasia Baptist Church in St. Augustine, FL.