The fruit of the Spirit

The bible tells us that we are to bear fruit, fruit that will last throughout all of eternity. So my question naturally was, well what is this fruit and how can I as a Christian ever hope to grow such fruit in my life?

In the book of John, Jesus speaks to his disciples and tells them that the only way to bear any good fruit is to remain in him, he tells us that God, will prune us so that we will produce a better harvest of good fruit in our lives.

Let’s take a look at the passage of Scripture.

John 15:1-8

The Vine and the Branches

 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prune so that it will be even more fruitful.

3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

As you can see from the above passage of scripture the bible tells us that God is the gardener, and that he is continually pruning us to makes us more fruitful. What does that pruning look like in the life of a believer?

In my own life I have experienced this pruning on an ongoing basis, and in my life it looks like a lot of corrective course changes, from a direction that I may be wanting to go, and God sees that it is not his best for me, so he will gently show me otherwise, but the most consistent way that he has used to prune me is to change my thinking and my heart.

For instance, I used to believe a lot of incorrect things about myself, and about who God is. For instance I believed that I could never do anything with my life as I was worthless, I had nothing good to offer, God’s truth however says something completely different, he says, that I am saved by his grace, and that his Holy Spirit lives within me, which then enables me to do anything according to his will for my life.

Therefore, you can see that he had to prune away the bad thinking, and replace it with me learning to believe and think on the truth. The truth that in Christ, I can do all things, because he gives me strength.

I also believed incorrectly that if I stepped out of line and did something that did not please God, I was going to get wacked by him. The truth is that, yes, He will have to bring discipline into our lives, but He does not treat us as our sins deserve, he is merciful and mighty and full of grace towards those he loves and who love him. If God treated me as my sins deserved, He would not have had anything to do with me, and thrown me out. Never talking to me, loving me, or wanting to be in relationship with me.

 Another example of pruning that the lord did in my life, that was more dramatic than the above two examples, was that when I was a teenager, I was a foul mouthed, partyer, who would consume large quantities of alcohol and could out swear most sailors.

When the lord got a hold of my life, I discovered that that life style was not God’s best for me, alcohol would enable me to have “fun” but in reality it made me do things that I would not ordinarily do when I was sober. As for my mouth, He showed me that my mouth needed an extreme mouth makeover. I discovered that the bible said that we had to put perverse speaking away from us, and that we were not to participate in it. What a mindset change.

Proverbs 4:24

 Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.

Talk about pruning!  The alcohol was easier to leave behind than it was to clean up my mouth and what came out of it,

Proverbs 18:21

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit”

You see the bible teaches us that what we say has the power of life and death, and if what we are saying is bringing death to someone, or to our situation, then we need to stop. But on the other hand if it is bringing life, then we are to use it wisely for that.

I am still being pruned in this area as the lord has been cleaning up my mouth. Thankfully he taught me a very important principle that went along with it, and that was, that what was coming out of my mouth, was in direct correlation to what I was harboring in my heart!!!

I cannot stress this concept enough, whatever I believed, thought of, and entertained in my heart is what would come out of my mouth, so if I had my heart set on evil, guess what would come out of my mouth, you are right, evil words. But as the lord changed my heart, and taught me a new way of living, by pruning out the evil that had trapped me, I was able to make better choices with what came out of my mouth.

The lord also took the time to teach me what he considered to be evil and contrary to producing good fruit in my life, Galatians is pretty clear about what the lord considers evil.

 Fruitless deeds of the flesh

Galatians 5:19 – 21

 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 

So if those things did not bring good fruit in my life, what was good fruit after all?

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 

So as a believer in Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit within me, enabling me to live a God pleasing life, I can expect to produce a harvest of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

As you can see in my previous examples I was sorely lacking in self control, I did not have any peace or joy or even gentleness when I would spew words from my mouth.

As you can see the fruits of the spirit are way more beneficial to us than any fruit of the flesh and in my experience and from what the bible teaches, the only true way to produce such fruit is through staying close to Jesus.

To me, that meant, that I would daily set aside time to seek him out, to study his word, and to pray. The more I did those things, the closer I felt to him, as he began to reveal more and more of himself to me.

My prayer for you today, is that if you have not made a special time that is just for you and the lord, that you do so soon. That you begin to ask him to prune you and produce the fruit in you that will impact people around you for his glory.

I pray that he will draw your heart closer to him in the process and one day you can look back and see the various good fruit that has been produced in your life.

 

Joy follows obedience

I have had the privilege of walking with the lord for a long time and I never seem to get over the joy I experience when I have done something that I know the lord wanted me to do.

I have heard this expression before, “there is no High, like the Most High” in other words there is nothing more satisfying than walking with God and living in obedience to his will and plans and purposes for your life.

2 John 1:6

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

Jesus told his disciples that those who obeyed what he taught them, he would call them friends.

John 14:23

 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

I can give you many examples of experiences that I have had that involve obedience, but I would like to share one with you that would illustrate my point.

A few years ago, I was approached by an organization that needed 60 quilts made up and sent to an orphanage in Tanzania. This is no small task. I had asked the lord if this was what he wanted me to do and I felt that I had his approval.

I then proceeded to find fabric at discount prices, I gathered women to help me achieve this goal and set about conquering this mountain.

Yes, that sounds pretty simple, but the obstacles in the way were huge, for instance, I had resistance to this project from “friends” who thought I was crazy for taking this project on. They were not shy in sharing their opinion.

I had also gathered a group of ladies who promised to help me, but when the time came to show up to my home to get started with the project. Nobody showed up for just over a month.

I knew that God had laid this on my heart to do, and I knew that I needed to remain obedient and faithful to the task before me, even though it looked daunting and it seemed like it was not going to come together.

I remember going down to my basement with my sewing machines, and sewing by myself for that first month, faithfully doing what I believed that God had called me to do. I was rewarded for that faithfulness, as God eventually did draw the women in and eventually I had over 20 different people help with the project in various ways.

The satisfaction and joy that I felt at having being a part of that project, I cannot even begin to describe. When the time finally came for the handover of the quilts we had a little party with the women and one of the people who was actually going over to the orphanage to minister to the orphans and to take the quilts to them, told us that in Africa, a blanket is considered like a golden treasure. It is highly valued as it keeps you warm and brings comfort to whomever one. The blankets are normally given to the children by their mothers and since these kids were orphans we as their “mothers” could give them the comfort that they so desperately needed.

This my dear friends made 6 months of very hard work very worthwhile, as we were able to not only give those children a symbol of care but that they would be wrapped in the loving arms of Jesus each time they slept under those much prayed over quilts.

Oh the joy of our obedience was so very deep, that joy came with weeping tears of joy at knowing that we had made a difference in someone else’s life.

So, the next time that the lord prompts you to do something, where it is big or small jump at the opportunity of walking in obedience to his will for your life. The satisfaction and joy that you will receive from doing what he has called you to do, is absolutely priceless.

Philippians 2:12 – 16

 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.  Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life–in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. 

God loves it when we obey him and out of that obedience our love for him, is then showered on the people who he intends on blessing.

If I could leave you with one little thought, it would be this,

An attribute of obedience to the will of God is that Joy always follows. It is a joy that floods us as we know that what we are doing is pleasing to the lord.

So my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, go out freely and do what God has called you to do, whether it is ministering to your children, husband, orphans, neighbors or whomever, and remember that our obedience to God will bring him pleasure, and us a deep sense of joy and satisfaction in doing something that has eternal rewards.

 

 

 

Imitating Christ’s humility

In recent weeks I have had the privilege to learn a few lessons about the art of true humility and the stench of Pride. I will call it the art of true Humility because it really is that, it is a moment by moment practice to choose not to elevate yourself above another person.

Now that might sound simple enough but in reality in day to day practice, it can seem to be nearly impossible. There are many examples of people in our culture today who will do anything to get ahead, in whatever field they see fit and in doing so they have no problems walking all over other people.

Their pride and arrogance has blinded them to the reality of real life and how their actions, hurt, annoy and irritate other people. This prideful posture that they assume, might come across as confidence in the beginning, or even fun, but in short order the stench of the pride rears it’s ugly head.

I was recently in a situation where I experienced that kind of behavior, and to be honest it completely turned my stomach, and I know longer felt that I could trust the individual and what he spoke  about. The pride manifested in another way to, in that it revealed the lack of care that the individual had for others, it became a game of it is all about me, and look how good I am, and you are little, I am big therefore I will crush you to show you how big I really am.

In contrast however, I have had the privilege to meet the most wonderful people who were genuinely humble, who cared about other people, and who were always looking out for other people’s interest. They never boasted about their achievements, even if they were many, but humbly admitted that if it were not for the Holy Spirit at work within them; they would never have accomplished what they did.

In humility they sought ways to make other people’s lives better, they did not lord over them, but served them, they did not demand from the people, instead, they gave generously. They often give up their homes, ways of life, family, in order to serve those who are in need.

The bible teaches us that God opposes the proud; this means that he literally fights against the prideful and arrogant of our day, and he brings them down. The book of Proverbs is full of examples of God teaching us, that Pride and arrogance stand against all that he stands for.

Whereas with humility, God says that those who are humble, he will raise up and give honor and grace to. Why does God take such a definite stand on humility verses pride?

Pride is the catalyst to our destruction, it convinces us that we are way more important than what we are, it convinces us that we can do all things by ourselves without the need to have a Savior, it convinces us that we are no longer accountable to anyone, least of all God for our behavior and can do anything to get what we want. It corrupts our heart, and hardens us from all the good that God wants to do in and through us. Pride convinces us that it was purely by our own strength, hard work and cleverness that we accomplished all that we have. It places us in a position where we are never thankful to God for what he has given to us and how he worked behind the scenes to help us.

This is the furthest from the truth as the bible clearly states that we need God, and his wisdom and direction in our lives in order to navigate the waters of our lives.

Having read the two sides of humility and pride, which camp do you find yourself in? I would love to say to you that every day of my life, I walk in great humility, but I would be lying. Pride loves to raise it’s ugly head in my life, and before I know it, I am falling on my face because that is where my pride leads me, to humiliation, not humility.

In the book of Philippians, the Apostle Paul said that we should have the same kind of attitude that Christ had when it came to humility. That he gladly gave up his throne in heaven, the comforts of home, to come to earth, to teach us how to walk with him, then not only did he teach us, but he willingly laid down his life as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.

Read the following Passage;

Philippians 2:1-11

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. 

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, as you can see in the above passage of scripture that Jesus himself, consider our lives of greater value than his own, so he laid his life down on the cross as the ultimate sacrifice for sin and because of that act of humbling himself and obedience to God the Father, Jesus Christ the son, was raised up, and given a place of honor, and that place is to sit at the right hand of the father, forever.

Now, if you are feeling a prickling of your conscience that you have been walking in pride in your life, and would like to start learning how to walk in obedience, take a moment with me and pray, a simple pray of repentance. God will forgive you and restore you and teach you how to walk with an attitude that pleases him.

Dear Lord Jesus,

I realize that my heart attitude is one of pride and arrogance, I am selfish and self-seeking, even when I am doing things for other people. Please forgive me of this heart attitude oh Lord and help me to learn to walk in humility. Lord your promise is that if I turn from my wickedness that you will forgive me and restore me. Please do so now, I surrender my heart and mind to you and ask that you will use me to bring you glory and honor instead of myself.

In Jesus name,

Amen

 

 

 

 

How thankful are you?

 A few years ago, the lord started teaching me the joy of truly being thankful for all that he has done and given to me. I am not just talking about the sometimes meaningless thank you’s that we offer up, but a deep appreciation and gratefulness for his blessings.

 There is a story in the book of Luke that really made this point hit home for me, it is the story of the ten men that Jesus walked passed one day.

 These men were suffering from leprosy and in those days it was a real stigma to have this disease, the people who contracted it, here “put out of normal society” and forced to live outside of the gates of the city.  They were considered unclean.

 They were sent to the leper colony. They had no hope, and they had to watch how the disease ravaged their limbs, slowly eating them alive. It was and is a horrible disease.

 So what does this have to do with thankfulness you might wander, well when Jesus walked passed them, they called to him, they stood at a distance from him as they were the outcasts and were not allowed near people who did not have the disease.

 They called to Jesus, calling him Master, (rabbi, teacher) to have pity on them. When Jesus saw them, he had compassion for their plight and told them to go to the priests and show themselves. They believed Jesus’ word and left that place and went to the priests like Jesus had told them too. On the way there their bodies, literally healed up.

 Can you imagine their amazement and joy as limbs that were deformed and disfigured grew back healthy, fingers that had since fallen off grew back and facial deformities healed? I think that I would have been completely in awe at what was happening.

 Now here is where the story takes a turn, only one of the ten men who saw that he was healed came back to Jesus to say that he was thankful. He was praising God from the depths of his very soul in a loud voice. Only one!

 The funny thing was that all of the other lepers were Israelites, God’s people. The Samaritans were the outcasts, they were the ones who had taken on the customs of the people around them and diluted the practices and laws that God had laid out for them.

 When the Samaritan returned to Jesus, he asked them where the others were and why did they not feel it necessary to come and give praise to God?  Is it possible that the others took for granted what was given to them, and didn’t feel it necessary to give thanks to God? Is it possible that they were just glad not to be outcasts any longer and got caught up in their good fortune?

 We will never know exactly why they choose not to come back and say thank you to Jesus but when the Samaritan man did come back Jesus said some thing very interesting to him.

He said; 19Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

 Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we can learn a lot from this man, the one who came back.

He realized that his miraculous healing didn’t just happen, but it was on the faith of the words of Jesus, that he was healed. Jesus did not ask them to do anything weird, all he said was for them to go and show themselves to the priests, (that was in accordance to the Levitical law)

 When he came back he was so full of joy at what had been done for him and thankfulness that he was praising God whole heartedly.

 This is what we need to learn, to recognize the miracles big and small in our lives and praise God for them. When I realized this truth, I found that the more I thanked God and recognized his work within my heart, the more joy I experienced in my life.

 It was a cascading effect, thanking him for his love and provision, or for something that he had specifically had done for me that I could see, led to joy in my heart, which led to even more thankfulness.

I made it a practice to make sure that if I was in contact with any person, that I would always thank them for whatever they did for me, big or small, I taught my kids to be the ones to go back and always say thank you, to whomever it was that had helped them or taught them something.

 I believe that the big lesson here is, not to take the great and wonderful things of God for granted in our lives, like our salvation, our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins, all of the promises that he has given to us as his children.

 We need to practice daily giving him thanks for all that he has done for us. Daily praising him from the depths of our heart as it will lead to a life that is full of joy, contentment and a deep gratefulness for his many blessings.

 Luke 17:11-19

Ten Healed of Leprosy
  11Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 
12As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 
13and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
15One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 
16He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
17Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 
18Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 
19Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

 Practice Praising Him Today.

Producing good fruit – part 2

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ

My intent is to explore what it means for us as Christians to bear good fruit in our lives and what that fruit looks like.

John 15: 3-4

3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.

4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

What does Jesus mean when he says that because of the word that He has spoken to his disciples they are clean?

Jesus as God’s son came to the earth to reveal to mankind who God was, Jesus was God in the flesh, and he spoke the words of God to his disciples telling them who he was, revealing the truth of his deity to them. He taught them godly wisdom, showed them miracles, proving that he indeed was who he claimed to be. He always pointed to God and his will for the people. In doing this the disciples were washed clean, purified from their sins and set on a holy course.

As Christians, when we believe that Jesus is the son of God and that he died for our sins and the sins of the world in order to bring us back into a right standing with God; we are made clean by the blood of Jesus.

We are given the right to stand before God, pure, without the stain of our sin that separated us from him before.

We are clean, because we believed the word of God when he revealed to us that Jesus is His son. That He is the only way to heaven and because of his sacrifice our sins have been removed from us as far as the east is from the west.

Oh the knowledge of that makes me want to jump up and down for joy.

Now Jesus tells us in verse 4 that we need to remain in him, and when we remain in Him we will bear much fruit, if we do not stay connected to him, we will bear nothing.

I once had a potted yellow rose in my front hallway; it was beautiful and had about 5 yellow roses in full bloom on them. I loved walking past the flower and enjoying the beauty of that delicate plant. Then I had a party for a friend of mine and one of the toddlers loved the flower as well. I found later that she had picked off every little flower. I was sad as the beautiful plant was ruined. Those roses did not survive without the nourishment of the plant that they were attached to, they quickly shriveled up and died.

Well the same is true for us, if we do not remain (abide, not to depart, to continue to be present, to be held, kept, continually) in Christ Jesus we will never be able to prosper.

Jesus did not just tell the disciples and us to remain in Him, but he promises to remain in us as well.

What does that mean for us as Christians?

As a disciple of Jesus we are told that in order to grow we need to stay close to the source in order to grow spiritually. Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth, John 14. If we are making it a habit to hear what the Holy Spirit has to teach us, and put into practice what we learn about in the bible and we are allowing God’s word to completely transform our minds and our hearts then we are “Abiding, remaining” in the vine.

Jesus promises that he will never leave us nor will he ever turn his back on us when we believe in him, he will help us to grow and become the people that he has called us to be. He will lead and us and show us the way he wants us to live, because he will always be with us. We will never face anything alone and we will never have to be afraid.

When Jesus says that he will stay with us, he brings with him all of the resources from heaven which he gives to us, in order for us to live victoriously in our lives.

This is a very good place for us as Christians to be in.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, Jesus Christ living in us through the Holy Spirit has all of the resources of heaven at his disposal. He tells us in Ephesians 1, that he has given us every spiritual blessing as a believer in Christ Jesus. Why would we want to live apart from him in this world armed with this knowledge?

When we actively seek out Jesus for all things in our lives he promises that we will not only bring Glory to God but we will bear good spiritual fruit with his help.

I want to encourage you today, if you find yourself in a position where you are trying to earn your way into God’s good books, or earn your spot in heaven or if you have erroneously believed that you need Jesus plus other things to get into heaven and have eternal life, or if you are building your own kingdom and you are trying to “Be a Christian on your own strength” then stop, drop to your knees and pray.

In the verses that we have explored today, Jesus clearly says that the only way to truly reflect him in our lives and bear the good fruit that God wants to see is to stay as close to Jesus and the truth as possible.

Take time out today and start making it a habit to spend time with Jesus everyday, in prayer and in reading of the word of God. Learn his word, hide it in your heart, get deeply rooted in the wonders of his word and you will not be disappointed at all. He promises to reveal himself to you and teach you his ways, he promises to stay with you forever.

You see, as a christian we have nothing to fear, as the God who made the universe and all that we see around us, promises to never leave us. He will always be there to help us and hear our prayers, He wants to see us bring forth all of the good that he has placed within each of us. Step out today, take a risk and go deeper with him, He will not dissapoint you at all.

God bless you

Producing good fruit – part 1 – How do we produce Fruit?

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

I am sure that over time you like me have heard of the term “fruit” in a Christian life. Well what is Christian fruit? How do we produce it? How do we maintain it? And how do we know if the fruit that we are producing is good or bad?

These are a few of the questions that have been rattling around in my mind lately and so I have been searching out scriptures that will help me to understand what it all means. I pray that as you take this journey with me through discovering what “Christian Fruit” really is that you will be encouraged and spurred on to allow God to help you produce even more fruit in your life.

The first place to begin this search I believe is in the book of John, in the 15th chapter Jesus is telling his disciples how to truly grow and develop good fruit as a Christian. Jesus is using the vine as a metaphor here to give us a great word picture of how to stay connected with him.

John 15: 1-17

1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.

2He 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.

Jesus begins this chapter by telling his disciple that he is the vine, the true vine, why would he even bother to say that he is the true vine, well I believe it is because he knew that in the future, from the time of his death until present day that false prophets would come and try to convince people that there are other ways to heaven and spiritual fulfillment, here Jesus establishes once again his claim that he really is the only true way to heaven, and that only in him can all things grow and become fruitful.

He tells us that God is the gardener who lovingly takes the pruning shears and removes all that is dead from the vine, all that will stunt its growth. He removes the branches on the vine that do not produce any fruit, these are the people that might look all great and wonderful on the outside and yet their lives do not show that they have even a touch of Christ in them.

For those who are believers in his son Jesus Christ, He lifts them off of the ground, cleans the dirt and mud off of their lives and attaches them to the true vine. As they grow into this vine he needs to start the process of pruning them so that their branches do not get unruly.

This my friends is often our least favorite thing to have happen to us, and I have to admit that many times I dreaded the thought of God coming near me again to reveal what really was in my heart.

I knew how desperately wicked my heart was and I knew most of the time what lurked in there and I hated having to face up to what was bubbling in the cesspool attitudes, thoughts and soul.

But what I found was that God is a gentle pruner, he does not do it maliciously or spitefully to bring you shame and dishonor you, but when he does reveal (prune) something to you that is in your heart, it is because he wants you to learn to walk in freedom in that area of your life.

Like I said for a very long time I used to cringe at what I felt was surgery to my emotions, heart, attitude, mind, and actions, as I did not want it revealed.

The bible speaks a lot about sin being “darkness” and sin loves to hide in the dark and fester there, but God who is all light, will and does expose these dark places in order to set us free, from the death that sin will bring to our lives.

I can honestly say that after many years of God pruning a little here and a little there, I am not the same woman that I was when he first started the process. I am free from most of the things that God has exposed in me.

When I say most; it is because I still find myself sometimes clinging to the old things, even though I know that God has shown me a better way to live in Him.

I now look forward to the pruning so that I can get rid of things in my life that keep me from walking in complete freedom with Christ.

Jesus said that he came to set us free from sin and death, and all of the garbage and old way of life that we cling to is what needs to be pruned. It does not bring about any joy or happiness or peace into our lives, in fact it brings the opposite, depression, self loathing and many other things.

Jesus want to set us free from all of that, to help us to change our minds from the old way of thinking and seeing ourselves to a new way, his way, which brings life and freedom and growth and joy and peace and love and hope.

I don’t know about you, but I spent way to many years clinging to things that were worthless and brought me pain and shame. Over time, with much pruning God has restored me to believe him for who he says I am, for who he has made me to be, and I no longer see myself through the eyes of my sin, but I see myself through his eyes. The true vine.

How does a farmer grow a grape vine successfully, well this is what I found out;

When a farmer decides to cultivate a vineyard he needs to do a few things, firstly he has to have fertile, sloping, rocky ground that will allow for good growth and for the water to run off from the bottom of the vine. He does not want water to pool at the stem of the vine as it will create a breading ground for pests and rot.

When he plants that vine, he usually attaches it to a trellis, which is long as the plant grows very big. This is called, training the vine.

Training the vines to climb the trellis can be tricky. It is sometimes difficult to get the young vines pointed in the right direction. He has to move them often in the first season to get them going where he wants them to grow. Once he have worked with them, and gets them growing in the right direction, they are easier to maintain.

Now that he has the grape vine trained onto the trellis, he needs to begin pruning the plant, he does this because it diverts the energy from the roots and vines into the fruit. If he does not prune, he will have less fruit, and that fruit will be smaller in size. New vines grow from buds on last year’s vines. If left unchecked, the vines will become an unruly mess – which will be a big problem when he wants to harvest the grapes that he grew.

So the next time that God comes to you with those pruning shears, do not run away from him and not let him near your heart but allow him access, because as you read, it is for our good that He prunes us so that we will bring forth an abundant harvest of really good fruit.

If you feel the tug on your heart right now to let God in and remove some things that are hindering your walk with him I ask that you take a moment and say this simple pray with me, make a clean start today and allow God who loves you so much to continue the process of transforming you into the likeness of Christ and bring him Glory.

Dear heavenly father,

Thank you that you love me enough to have grafted me into your perfect vine, Jesus Christ, thank you that you want to prune all of the things out of my life that do not bring life to me, but death. Father forgive me for running away from your pruning in my life, I surrender my heart to you right now, I ask that you will forgive me of the sinful things that I cling to and set me free from the wrong thinking that I need to hide my sin from you. You only reveal it to me so that I can repent and deal with it, not to bring me hardship and pain. Father I thank you, help me to have an undivided heart for you today.

In Jesus name,

Amen.

To read the next part of this series please click on this link