In my garden, I’ve been pruning to create more fruitfulness. It’s counterintuitive that by diminishing your plants, you gain more.
Basil works like this. The more I take, the more it grows. Of course, I have to pick the basil in the right spots to encourage more growth.
I also notice that when I pruned the top of my plumcot sapling, suddenly it grew healthy branches. It began to grow outward in the right directions instead of flimsily growing upward and upward.
Finally, I pruned away the leaves on my ground cherry that seemed diseased in order to protect the rest of the plant and ensure more fruitfulness.
In John 15, we know that God both cuts off branches that bear no fruit, but He also prunes those branches that do bear fruit so they will become more fruitful.
When God takes away something (a relationship, an activity, an ability, an opportunity), we might learn to see how this encourages more fruitfulness and greater spiritual health. It’s not a diminishment. It’s an enhancement. It’s protection. And when He humbles us in some way by blocking our upward path, it’s so we stretch out in the right direction.