“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”
John 15:2 NKJV
Wasting time on fruitless things
Early on I spent a lot of time doing busy work. In large churches there is a great need for workers. When new people come into the body they are “fresh meat”. Of course we don’t say such things. We refer to people as eager to serve. The church taps into that eagerness. I worked a lot in a lot of different ministries. For a time I worked every day of the week.
Looking back I can see the fruitlessness of those early efforts. Almost all of them were outside of my spiritual gifts. Eventually the efforts died, or at least my participation in them. Sometime the aftermath was frustration at having waste years of my life I won’t get back.
In my personal life there also a significant number of things that I did that were not fruitful, and in some cases, took away from the fruitful things I was doing. During this time I encountered the tendency of God to prune.
When I think about pruning I think of the seemingly brutal cutting of plants. I remember one year when my dad cut back the mulberry hedge around the house. He cut the bushes to almost the level of the ground, leaving only a few inches. I didn’t understand what he was doing. “I thought he loved that hedge.”
God’s pruning in my own life has, at times, seemed just as brutal. We treasure the things in our life that give us pleasure. Sadly, we have the tendency to place those things: habits, people, favorite sins and other things; before God. Then we have the audacity of ask Him to use us.
God is the ultimate vineyard keeper. He prunes to increase the crop. Those of us caught up in the pruning find ourselves confused as God takes away the things and people we hold dear that are wasting our time. It is not until later when we see the fruitfulness that we understand. I look at that hedge and it is thriving today. I look at my life and I am thriving.
As I have become increasingly fruitful, I have seen my intimacy with Jesus increase. In that closeness, the pain of the loss of useless things has gone away, washed away by the blood of Jesus that has cleansed me.
In the midst of the pruning you might find yourself questioning God’s love for you. “I thought He loved me.” Trust that He does. Keep looking back to the past when He has delivered you. He is faithful.
You will marvel at the growth you have as God reveals to you His divine purpose in your life.