God uses problems, pressures, and people to prune us for even greater fruitfulness. Are you aware of Him using any of those three things in your life today? God can use all kinds of situations in our lives to help us grow; we just need to have the right attitude. He can use a major frustration, a change in our circumstances, a sudden illness, a broken relationship, a conflict with a loved one, or even a problem with money to get our attention. We might feel hurt at the time, because pruning can be painful. Sometimes a gardener will prune a tree until it looks like a telegraph pole or a giant toothpick. It’s not a pretty sight. But overall, the pruning process is positive. God is not angry at us. ‘There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8:1 NKJV). God doesn’t punish His genuine children. Jesus took our punishment on the cross. God’s pruning is for our best, for more fruitfulness in our lives. God’s pruning can fail to produce good results, but only if we don’t cooperate. So how does God produce ‘love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control’ in our lives? (Galatians 5:22-23 NLT). He produces these qualities by allowing us to face situations and people with exactly the opposite qualities. He teaches us to love by putting us around difficult people. He teaches us patience by letting things frustrate us. It’s difficult, but the Bible gives us a strategy to help us cope: ‘Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus’ (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT).