Growing up I loved movies about “The Three Musketeers.” Their motto was “All for one and one for all.” No matter who they fought, they were united in fighting the evils of their day (always winning). I wanted to be a part of that, but I didn’t see that happen in real life during hard times or times we might call pruning. It all seemed out of the ordinary. Jesus and his friends went through trials as well and in the same way seemed to come out even more united, except for a few times.
One of the times of pruning that seemed like the disciples missed the point is in Luke 22. The disciples were arguing which of them was the greatest. What shocked me most was how this took place, according to Luke, after the last supper and Jesus revealing his love. They literally went from Jesus explaining how he was giving up his body and blood for them out of love to arguing who was the best! While it is easy to point the finger at them, I was convicted that I kind of do the same thing.
In times of pruning it is easy to focus on ourselves and not Jesus. When we do that, we see how the world deceives us so the evil one can divide God’s people. The evil one wants us to see pruning to be out of anger to cause damage and miss how God prunes out of love for us so we can grow. Jesus wants us to experience his love during these times so we can be united with him and others.
John 15:12 reminds us to love others as Jesus loved us, so we can remain living in his love (v. 9) and bear fruit (v. 16). When we do this we are untied in times of pruning instead of being divided. One of the benefits of being united by his love in times of pruning, is how we can experience joy (v. 11) even when it’s hard.
Think of a time when God was pruning so you could grow and thrive. Think of the people he put in your life during that time. Pray and thank him. If you’re still connected to those people, reach out and say hello. Remind them of what God did and praise him together. All for one and one for all.