Good News: You can live a life bursting with real love, perpetual joy, invincible peace, unshakable hope, supernatural power and exponential impact.
Bad news: There is only one person who can live a real Christian life. It is not you.
Good news: The one person who can live a real Christian life is…Christ. The Christian life is only lived by Jesus in you, God the Holy Spirit flowing through you.
Therefore: The goal of the Christian life is rather simple, be so closely connected to Jesus that the life of Jesus is always flowing through you.
When this occurs, spiritual fruit is the automatic by-product. You will display the personality of Jesus as your life explodes with unconditional love, joy, peace, hope, wisdom and power (Gal. 5:22-23).
Jesus will flow through you to others impacting them in such a way that they either becomes Christians or grow as Christians (Rom. 1:13).
God enhances the flow of the life of Jesus in and through us as we stay closely connected to the Father through daily dependency on Him through prayer and the Word. Another way God increases and enhances the flow of His life through us is through the process of pruning.
Horticultural pruning is the removal of plant parts in order to optimize plant health, strength, durability and productivity. It is widely viewed as essential and beneficial.
On the other hand, spiritual pruning is often a misunderstood or infrequently taught element of Spiritual growth and ministry. But spiritual pruning is an essential aspect of your spiritual life. Jesus said,
|John 15:2 Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing fruit] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit.
The wise gardener knows that pruning back the vine produces more fruit. He or she will cut off the unfruitful, superficial, sap-draining branches in order for all of the life-giving sap to flow to those branches that have the greatest potential to bear fruit.
Jesus promised that the Father (the Gardener) will prune us in order that we may bear more fruit. This raises three questions:
Q1: What does God prune in my life?
A: God prunes anything that is not spiritually fruitful.
The wise gardener will cut away from the plant anything that is diseased or dead. But that it not all. He or she will also cut anything that that detracts from fruitfulness.
So it is with God. He will cut away any and all relationships, attitudes, behaviors, habits, or beliefs that are spiritually sick, dead or sinful. But not everything He cuts is bad. It could be neutral things, unnecessary things, and non-eternal things. It may be stuff that just distracts us off course or that clutters the process. It could also be any unfruitful relationships, attitudes, behaviors, habits, beliefs.
Q2: When does God prune?
A: God prunes us consistently throughout our lives. The amount and type of pruning changes with the season.
In the natural realm, a good garner prunes his plants most severely when they are young. He or she does this in order to force the plant to build a strong root system. Without a strong root system the pant cannot weather strong storms or severe drought. With the strong root system the plant will be stronger, the flow of life running through it will be enhanced and it will bear much more fruit over a much longer time. While the pruning may be painful in the beginning, it eventually produces.
After a plant is mature, the wise gardener will still take it through seasons of light pruning so it can continue to have seasons of great fruitfulness.
Q3: How does God prune us?
A: God uses a combination of His Word and difficult circumstances, people, or events to prune us.Jesus said that the Father uses Jesus’ Word to prune us.John 15:2-3 Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit.3 You are already clean [pruned] because of the word I have spoken to you.
I have read the Bible through many times and some parts of it hundreds of times. Yet, I still read the Bible every day. Why? One reason is that God uses it to point out attitudes, beliefs, and mindsets in my life that limit the flow of the life of Jesus in me and thereby hinder fruitfulness.
The author of Hebrews said that the Father uses difficulties to prep us for better fruit.
Have you ever noticed that when things are going good, we often get hit with a rash of difficulties? Rest assured, this is normal for the growing Christ follower. God, the good Gardener, will use difficulties to prune us as plants or train us as children. These often-painful events do not indicate that God is mad at us. On the contrary, they are marks of His love. His desire is to cut off unfruitful elements of our lives so we can better experience more of His life and ultimately bear more fruit.
|Hebrews 12:5-11 My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects. God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; its training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? … No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Thank God for His pruning.
Trust Him to be wise and good in the process.
Embrace God’s pruning.