What does it mean to prune? This is what my dear friend Google said: “to trim (a tree, shrub, or bush) by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to increase fruitfulness and growth.”
In a world full of excess, we are often overwhelmed with choices to be made. We lack discernment on whether our current situation is a direct result of our selfishness or God’s selflessness. He grants us the grace we don’t deserve to pull out of our darkest pits, and we still question what this all means.
I wholeheartedly believe that if we can begin to take down limbs that block our view of Jesus we will be able to see more clearly the purpose He has for our lives and how we can fulfill that purpose. And what better time than a quarantine?
Everyone’s life looks a little different, yet every believer’s purpose is pointed to the Cross. We’ve lost sight of the beauty in resting in the Lord and running to the cross, or at least I know I have. I want to take out the distractions that are causing me to see the Lord through fogged lenses.
I also Googled the phrase “pruning with a purpose.” (I was trying to find the podcast or sermon I thought I heard this on, but instead I found this.) An article popped up at the top and this is the paragraph that was highlighted: “Pruning of trees should always be done with a purpose in mind. The purposes for pruning are varied. Some pruning is done to change or train a plants growing pattern or to restrict growth. Other forms of pruning may be required to maintain or improve plant health or the quality of flowers , fruit and foliage.”
I laughed a little because it was an article about gardening, but the purpose I had in mind was for Jesus. It’s funny how Jesus has intertwined every day tasks into learning more about him. I love how the article talked about the different ways pruning affects plants. For some plants, pruning allows the plants to change its’ growing pattern. For other plants, pruning is done to remove what is damaged and dead. It allows for improved quality of life for these plants.
“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.” -John 15:2
The Lord has given us the shears we need to trim back the foliage that is keeping us from Him. Will we lay the shears aside and hide behind the limbs or will we take a moment to remove the excess?
Now, that’s easier said than done, so let’s take it one step at a time.
What’s the thought/activity/action you do the most all day long? Is it time spent on social media? Watching TV? Doing things that satisfy for the moment and then quickly fade out?
For me, social media didn’t feel like a problem until I saw how many hours I spent on my phone a day. Time I could easily fill with the Lord, yet I don’t. I see how that’s a problem, so I’m cutting it out altogether with some of the platforms and minimizing my time with others.
In this season of my life, I will probably never have as much free time as I do now ever again. I can work on learning discipline and obedience now. I don’t want to be an excuse maker, I want to be a world changer through my Heavenly Father.
Maybe this season feels like there’s chaos at every corner. Where are you seeing Jesus work in your life? Where do you feel unfulfilled and how can you shift that situation to have Jesus’s glory shine through it?
For me, writing down what I’m struggling in, what I need to change, and how I need to change it is the biggest help. Then I see exactly what I’m working with. The best thing I can suggest though is to have someone hold you accountable. For example, if you want to fast from social media for a month, find a friend, tell them about it, and make them check in with you to make sure you’re following through. Then, spend the time you would on social media and read the Word, journal, pray, and have your heart molded by the Maker to look more like His.
Prune those branches and watch sweet fruit grow in its place.
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