About a week ago, I observed that quite a few of my potted plants needed to be pruned. In fact the ferns and palms were terribly unkempt and very bushy. No wonder nothing new and fresh was springing forth! Well I decided to get out my pruning shears and give them a very good trim. And voila! I am looking forward to seeing some fresh palm fronds in a little while. Back in the day when most of us were sporting nice glossy perms (before weaves and wigs were all the rave) our hair stylists would always trim off the tips of our hair regularly because it was believed that this would make the hair grow faster and healthier.

While thinking about these things, I was reminded of this scripture and I found that the Amplified Translation says it so appropriately. “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that continues to bear fruit, He [repeatedly] prunes, so that it will bear more fruit [even richer and finer fruit].” John 15:2 AMP  Bearing fruit has to do with what we do on the outside based on what is on the inside of us. What are some of these fruits? Here are a few: “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” Galatians 5: 22-23 NLT  These fruits are not just seen in isolation. Something must trigger their display. For example if we find ourselves in a situation that would normally make one irritable or impatient, we are expected to respond patiently. Or if we are in the midst of a fierce storm where fear might be the natural response, we should stay calm and peaceful. Since it is said that if you already exhibit some degree of fruitfulness then you will be expected to bear even more fruit, it implies that the triggers which are really trials and temptations will be intensified. That is the pruning happening.  With each greater trial comes more pruning and then “richer and finer” fruits.

This tells me that if we expect to have a richer and finer version of absolutely anything, then we must be prepared for some regular pruning. The bigger your rose garden gets, the more pruning you must do to get even more out of it. Otherwise it will become overgrown and gradually produce less and less blooms. Please note the word regular; because the pruning is not a one-off. As the scripture says it is a repeated action. It must be done from time to time. Pruning is not always very pleasant (I mean, when did cutting, pulling, yanking back and forth become a pleasure?) but the end result is often spectacular. Like when a hedge is pruned to perfection it always looks good.

So what have we been doing since the onset of the coronavirus? The pandemic has triggered a lot of reactions.  But how are we holding up? Are we coping and hanging in there? Or are we overcome with fear, panic and worry? Physically, I know a lot has been left unkempt;  our hair, beards, eye brows, nails and the like.  Most of our physical bodies are screaming to be groomed. Those can easily be taken care of. But what about our spiritual and mental states? Are we abiding in the word of God to keep us grounded? What are we allowing to run amok in our minds, in our thoughts? Are we leaving them in a negative place? If we must come out better post COVID -19, if we must have grown, then we need to do some serious pruning. Out with the dead unproductive bits and let a newness spring forth.

We all know what we need to prune. Is it the endless chatter on WhatsApp, the excessive late nights, the unbelievable bills incurred from the retail therapy habit, living on Instagram, overindulgence in the sweet or savoury treats department, or maybe the beverage corner too? If we plan to be relevant, fresh and productive, then it is time to bring out our pruning shears and get a good trim. And that starts right here: “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.” John 15: 4 NLT