So far we have talked about two of the Secrets of the Vine which is how God helps us bear more of His Fruit. First there was discipline, which is all about letting go of sin, and now we have been discussing pruning, which is all about letting go of self. Both hurt, so how can we tell if God is disciplining us or pruning us? This takes much prayer and self reflection with the Holy Spirit’s insight and guidance. (Please check out pages 65 through 67 for ways to discern between discipline and pruning.) If we sense an ongoing sin in our lives, then God is disciplining us. But if the Holy Spirit does not bring any sin to mind, then God is probably pruning us so we may bear more Fruit.
Let me give you an example because, misunderstanding God’s methods, can cause us undo pain and suffering. After I had become born again and started, by His Grace, to grow in Christ, revealing His Love, every time my daughter would have a crisis and end up back in the hospital, I would begin to feel guilty. I would cry out to God, “What am I doing wrong?” This caused me to turn from God, and just feel condemned. Yet God was not disciplining me, but pruning things out of my life that no longer fit into this New Life in Christ. It took me several years to learn this vital lesson…and, oh how I wish I could get that precious time back, because not knowing what God was doing, kept me from fully being there for my Baby Girl!
You see, this misunderstanding can cause a break in our relationship with God, which will normally lead us to sin, which will bring us right back to discipline! Mr Wilkinson says, “…misreading God’s actions or motives in pruning is the number one reason mature Christians unnecessarily slide back into discipline.” (p64) This horrible cycle can cause us such torment…which is exactly what the enemy desires! While we are in this painful pattern, we are not bearing Fruit, and others are also confused about what it means to be a Christian. They see the pain, the frustration, the doubt, and want nothing to do with our Jesus. Misunderstanding God’s methods hurts everyone, see?
The next time you begin to even sense some type, any type, of suffering, stop, pray, ask God to reveal the issue at the center of that pain. Again, if it is sin, God will be more than glad to reveal it to you, because it keeps you from Him. But if it is something from your old life that no longer helps you, and actually keeps you from growing, God will also be more than glad to show it to you, because it keeps you from bearing more Fruit and enjoying life more deeply, while giving God more glory too. Confusion keeps us from victory, while discernment draws us, and others, towards it. The Fruit is our victory because it is the Abundant Life Jesus died to give us!
2023’s Got A Minute? Book Club
January: The First & Best Book Ever: The Bible
February: Love Is In the Air: “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts” by Gary Chapman
March: Spring Growth: “Secrets of the Vine” by Bruce Wilkinson
<>< Peace, Diane