It’s January 2022. Happy New Year!! Across the globe, hope-filled humans are shaking off the dust of 2021 (and scrubbing off the residual grime of 2020) and collectively taking in a deep breath of HOPE for a more loving and joy-filled 2022. Let’s be a part of that tribe!
Yes! Let’s be part of the tribe that starts the year off with PRUNING off what doesn’t belong anymore in our lives, in our minds, in our hearts …. so that we can be the type of people that bear fruit! That have a positive (not negative) impact on family, friends, and those within our circle of influence. Let’s add joy and hope and love and kindness, sprinkling it around like one might scatter wildflower seeds on the cold ground of late winter, so that come spring and throughout the brisk winds of early fall – beauty abounds.
As I shared in December, this blog subject (Spiritual Pruning) was inspired by the message series of Pastor Keith Moore entitled “Fruitfulness”. In Spiritual Pruning: Part 1 I attempted to summarize this 11-part message with these 3 main points:
- 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
Because I’m a bit on the slow side (meaning I am not always quick to hear and receive instruction the first time, nor the 10th time, nor even the 57th time), I have been listening and re-listening to this study on Fruitfulness for a few months now. Over time, roots of truth began to take hold in my heart and as the close of 2021 drew nearer, I felt an increasing desire to see more fruit in my life!
“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
“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
I mean, like who doesn’t want to live a more fruitful life!! Right? More fruitful (lifegiving) relationships. More fruitful (impacting) ministry. More fruitful (successful) employment. More fruitful (multiplication) finances. We all want fruit!! And God desires that we bear fruit… in fact, He commands it!
But anyone who has ever tried to grow a vegetable garden (or rosebush, or fruit tree, or anything that bears some sort of bloom/fruit) knows that periodic pruning is required to keep the plants healthy and producing. Dead, diseased, or pest-infected shoots and branches must be pruned off so that they don’t consume life-giving nutrients and energies that are needed by healthy growth. New growth must be monitored and periodically removed, even fruit-bearing growth, particularly if that growth is developing in such a way that it will weaken or compromise the strength/structure of the overall plant (i.e. the bush won’t be able to bear the weight of that branch for the long term, and if not removed it will cause injury to the plant).
The same is true with us. We need to be pruned of things that won’t produce the right kind of fruit in our lives.
Now when the pruning is removing something that really isn’t very important to you, then it can be pretty easy to submit to the pruning process. Right? I mean, if God told me that for some heavenly purpose, He needed me to surrender gum chewing I’d be quick to jump up and shout “Amen LORD, so be it!” … and I’d submit to never buying or chewing gum again. Easy peasey! Obedience to that command is easy to do and costs me very little, because I rarely chew gum.
But would that be my response to His wanting to prune something that is more near and dear to my heart?
A belief or mindset.
A pattern of behavior.
Ahh, now that’s a whole ‘nuther story. This type of obedience requires I make a quality decision (not just give lip service, but follow through with corresponding action to accompany the decision made), and not just decide once but perhaps decide hundreds of times before the “unruly vine” finally surrenders to having been removed and new patterns of thought and behavior begin to bear new fruit.
That’s where I’m at right now, and where I’ve been stuck for the last couple of weeks. I want to surrender to pruning, truly I do … for I long to be bear more fruit for the One who gave His life just so that I could have and enjoy a fruit-bearing life in Him.
But oh, some branches just don’t wanna come off very easily.
Hmm, that’s a nice line Jenny, but it’s not truthful. It’s not the branch who is swatting away the sheers, it’s little old me. I’m the one resisting the process and slapping away the hands of the Master as He approaches with the pruning sheers.
Lord, help me have a submissive heart so that I can experience greater victory and fruitfulness in my life.