by Ami Hendrickson
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life. He who is wise wins souls.
To produce a bumper crop of fruit, a tree must be pruned.
For the first few years of a tree’s life, it is best to remove only dead or diseased branches, leaving most of the tree alone. This gives it time to establish a solid, healthy root system. If not pruned properly early in its development, a tree will often become “alternate bearing” – unable to produce a decent crop every year.
Pruning sometimes requires cutting off perfectly good branches for the betterment of the whole tree. It opens up the canopy to increased sunlight. It allows air to better circulate. It can stave off rot and blight. And it equips the tree to do what it should: bear good fruit.
Most pruning is done in the winter or spring when the sap is still in the ground. Since pruning stimulates new growth, it should be avoided in the fall, when the tree is building up its reserves for the winter.
If “the fruit of righteousness is a tree of life,” perhaps the trials and troubles we experience are simply divine pruning. To strengthen us, God, in His wisdom, removes the damaged elements of our character. To withstand the storms of life, we must firmly root ourselves in Jesus.
Only when we allow God to mold and shape us can we produce a crop of believers for His kingdom.
Please strengthen and mold me.
Help me grow in Your likeness so I may lead others to You.
In Jesus’ wonderful Name, I pray, Amen.