Pruning is to cut away or remove unnecessary parts; to remove dead or living parts form a plant to increase fruit or flower production or to improve form.
Abide ~ Remain ~ LOVE
As Easter weekend leaves us, my heart is consumed by the words abide, remain and love. Certain moments or even full seasons of life can be confusing, hard and painful making it hard to remain in God, abide in his love and to love others. The verses from John 15:1-17 have been coming up a lot lately, so I decided to sit on this passage and continue to tell myself to abide.
“I am the vine, and the farmer who tends the fine is my Father. He cares for the branches conected to me by liftin gnand propping up the fruitless branches and pruning every fruitful branch to yeild a greateer harvest. ” John 15:1-2
Much of the last 5 years of my life have been some heavy pruning years. Some of the pruning times have felt like I am moving toward God and some of the pruning has been so painful it’s felt like God has left me. Which, of course, He never has, but honestly, some of the pruning of my sinful thoughts and actions have felt that way. When those branches were being cut off – ouch – loss of friends, loss of direction in life, feelings of loneliness… but as I abide in Him and cried out for the healing of my broken branch He helped make me grow stronger and straighter. Are you in a season of lost direction? If so, abide – you’ll be stronger, I promise you that it is better on the other side – I also promise you, the pruning will never stop! Thank God
“So you must remain in life-union with me for I remain in life-union with you. For as a branch severed from the vine will not bear fruit, so your life will be fruitless unless you live your lime intimately joined to mine. I am the sprouting vine and you’re my branches. As you live in union with me as your source, fruitfulness will stream from within you – but when you live separate from me you are powerless.” John 3-5
I’m in another season of very strong pruning. The original pruning was clear to me why. I, too, could see the dead branches that were bearing no fruit. This season is different and a lot harder because the pruning that is happening now is deeper rooted: like pridefulness that I think I can justify, like low self-worth, like not being loving when I’m feeling low.
As this more difficult pruning season takes hold, I feel pain and sadness in my heart which causes me to want to abide less, and there is the test of my faith. When things get hard or painful, do I still abide in Him who is my source of life or do I lose site and follow the world? Sadly, I find the battle ensues, and I turn to food or my husband to fill my brokenness – to heal the branch being trimmed – but nothing other than Jesus himself can heal my brokenness and make me stronger – so I need to focus on remaining in Him – turn my focus to his fruitfulness.
“But if you live in life-union with me and if my words live powerfully within you – then you ask whatever you desire and ti will be done. When your lives bear abundant fruit, you demonstrate that you are my mature disciples who Glorify my Father.” John 15:7-8
Oh, how I want to show others with my actions and words how much God has renewed and saved me. Too often I let my frustrations cloud and muddy the redemptions Christ has given me. I sat in church this morning in awe of how much I am loved and then turn around and get frustrated with my husband – what good do I do as a disciple of God if I let my emotions take hold so easily.
God is pruning me – the teaching coming through to my heart and mind every day are making me increasingly aware of the dead branch that is bearing now fruit and in desperate need of trimming. God is so very gentle as he cuts away the fruitlessness of certain areas of my life. He holds me upright and cuts off the parts of me that need it. but, have you ever seen pruning sheers? They are terrifyingly sharp… God is with me and holding me but the death to self is still painful, and that’s why remaining in the Vine, Jesus, needs to be such a focal point.
” I love each of you with the same love that the father loves me. You must continually let me love nourish your hearts. If you keep my commands, you will live in my love, jas as I have kept my Father’s commands, for I continually live nourshed and empowered by his love” John 15: 9-11
These two verses are where I close my day and spend time thinking on. It’s also an intermittent fasting day for me – so I give my love, fulfillment, trust, pain, and hunger all over to the nourishment I find in Jesus. I am nourished to love through frustration, I find my nourishment when I’m hungry, and where I find the nourishment to endure the joyful pain of God’s loving pruning.
Lord, thank you for always pruning us so that we may grow stronger as your disciples. Please reveal to us our brokenness and turn our hearts toward you for our nourishment and healing. Thank you, Lord, for all of your love. In Jesus Name Amen.