Pruning and Clothing
Prune- verb (used with object), pruned, prun·ing.
to cut or lop off (twigs, branches, or roots).
to cut or lop superfluous or undesired twigs, branches, or roots from; trim.
to rid or clear of (anything superfluous or undesirable).
Pruning as is the practice of getting rid of unnecessary and often harmful things that may hinder the growth of a plant. There are many lessons we can learn from plants and gardening but one important thing is the practice of pruning. In Paul’s letter to the Colossians in chapter three, he urges the believer to begin doing some pruning of their lives from the things that cause them to sin. The question we must begin to ask ourselves is this, what do I need to prune from my life?
In Colossians 3:2 Paul challenges us to “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” This challenge is to examine our hearts and our minds, what do we think about most? If your mind were like a google search history, what would it say about us? So how is your thought life? Set your mind on Christ and His Kingdom.
In Colossians 3:5-9 Paul challenges us to begin the pruning process of the old ways of our life before Christ so that we can continue to grow into the image of Jesus. Then in Colossians 3:10-11 Paul says this, “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” It is hard for us to fully understand the radical statement that Paul is making here without proper context. In this statement Paul is saying that people who would be considered rivals, enemies, “others” are equal in Christ. What Paul is trying to convey is the truth that when our identity is in Christ we are all equal and He can prune our prejudices. Everybody has prejudices of some kind, whether they are racially driven, politically driven, social-economically driven, or even religiously driven. I believe that part of being molded into the image of Christ is to allow God to prune those prejudices from our hearts and minds.
In Colossians 3:12-17 we get the beautiful picture of what it looks like to be made new in Christ and to look like Him. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Friends, becoming more like Jesus is an intentional choice, it requires that every day we choose to “clothe yourselves” with those virtues Paul mentioned. But here is the big truth we have to believe and receive before we can be pruned, Jesus can only give us new life when we let go of our old life. Let’s be humble, honest, and brave with Jesus. Let’s give up our old life so He can give us a new and better one! May we as His followers be known by our compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and love.