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Pruning & Patience & Loving
by Elaine Pierce
"This is my command: Love each other" (John 15:17) These 7 words may be among the most famous in the Bible. Before Jesus makes this dramatic, but simple statement, he tells his disciples, the men who have been with him for three years, that they are no longer his servants: they are his friends (v 15). And then he reminds them that "you did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last."
How do we love each other? How can we bear fruit, fruit that will last? Meditate on John 15, and you will see ways that you can put 'love' into practice. One way to love each other is to first love God. We are the branches of the tree of life, and God is the gardener.
I don't know much about fruit trees, but I have a friend who does. She has several peach trees, and for many years, they produced very little fruit. Some of that is because Ohio winters and springs are not optimal for Peachtree
production, but my friend has been very patient, and every year she prepares her peach trees for harvest. She watches them carefully for fungal or bacterial diseases, and when a late spring frost threatens to destroy the tender buds she covers them to protect them from the freezing temperatures. This year, the peach trees produced a bountiful crop. She baked countless pies, produced delicious peach jam, and shared juicy peaches with friends and neighbors. This did not happen overnight. It took time, patience, and perseverance.
When we submit to God's pruning, he will reap a harvest of fruit that will bring glory to him. Loving each other does not mean that life will be easy and worry-free. Conflict will occur. Egos will clash. Misunderstandings will create anger, confusion, and division. And yet, he calls us his friends. He chose us. Allow that to sink in, to penetrate your heart and soul. The God who created the universe and everything in it loves you and chose you! His command is that you love each other.
Lord, I hate waiting. I want results yesterday. Forgive me when I doubt your timing. Help me to submit to your pruning, and to reap fruit that will last. Thank you for choosing me, and for loving me. Help me to love my brothers and sisters, the saints I will spend eternity with. Amen.