For the past few months, I have been listening repeatedly to a message series entitled “Fruitfulness“. Repeatedly? Yes. About six times so far, and still counting. Because I’ve learned something about myself over the years … and it’s probably true of you too. I don’t hear everything that’s said on the first hearing! Or the 3rd. In fact, it often takes somewhere between five to 50 times before it finally starts to sink through this thick head of mine not to mention my bruised and calloused heart. Anybody else?
I would like to tell you that just because my ears have heard wisdom or my eyes have read wisdom, that wisdom has been integrated into my life and I now operate out of it. But nope. It takes hearing and hearing, and then hearing some more!
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”Romans 10:17 (NKJV)
I can now laugh at how familiar Romans 10:17 was to me without my understanding it. And then one day (not that many years ago) it finally dawned on me. Oh! “Faith comes from (develops as a result of) hearing the Word of God”. Ha! And you thought I was exaggerating when I said I’m thick headed. *grin*
“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.”John 15:8, 16
If I were to try and group Pastor Moore’s message on Fruitfulness into three major points, I would probably list them as follows:
- We are commanded to produce fruit, and fruit that lasts/remains
- In order to produce fruit, we must remain/abide in The Vine
- Ongoing fruitfulness requires periodic pruning
And it’s that last point that I’m pondering today … the pruning process. I feel like I’ve been in a “season of pruning” throughout most of 2021.
It started in January when I decided to sort through some of the storage bins I’d shoved under my bed and found my stash of journals dating back to 2007. Flipping through them, some entries brought back happy memories of adventure and special family moments.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardner. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.“John 15:1-2
Some entries reflected journeys of spiritual discovery. But consistent throughout the 10+ years of journal entries was 1) a recurring plea for God to help me get victory in a few key domains of life, along with 2) an increasing statement that “I don’t care”. Especially throughout my 2019 and 2020 entries. And that caught my attention! It revealed to me the condition I’d let my heart get in. The negativity I was tolerating. The discouragement I had grown comfortable with. The complacency with mediocracy that I had allowed to grow and overshadow my desire to pursue dreams God had given me to pursue.
It was pruning time.
Some pruning has been like the snapping off of tiny little sprouts that don’t belong. That work was swift and relatively painless.
Word Picture This: pinching off the top of the
tomato bush to force growth out to the branches.
Some pruning has required a more purposed and focused approach. It has required implementing new or greater disciplines to counter old sloppiness. Like revamping my morning devotional time. Like taking mastery over my mouth. Like being more selective about what I allow in my ear-gate and eye-gate, and saying NO to things my flesh wants to say YES to.
Word Picture This: getting out the pruning sheers
to remove sapling sized -to- small sized branches.
Some of the pruning has been arduous and painful. It has required repentance and humbling myself before God. It has required times of prayer with fasting. And much of that pruning is still “a work in process”. Yet as unpleasant as this work might be at times, I know that if I want victory in certain areas of my life, I need to prune out those unruly branches that are diminishing my fruitfulness and holding back my blessing.
Word Picture This: Vroommmm
We all have areas of our lives that are not producing 100% of what we imagine them capable of, let alone the “exceedingly abundantly more” described in Ephesians 3:20.
“Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.”Ephesians 3:20-21 (AMP)
How about you? Do you need increased fruitfulness, greater productivity, or supernatural favor in any areas of your life? Does your prayer list (like mine) include prayers for:
If so, please consider journeying along with me as we continue to examine the spiritual pruning process required for greater victory and greater Fruitfulness.