When we hold on to things that are no longer bringing us the ability to grow more closely to Jesus, and display His Fruit more clearly by loving God and others, our lives begin to feel humdrum. So God steps in to remove these things so we can get more connected to Christ. The image Mr Wilkinson gives of the pruning of the grapevine is so that the leaves can be removed and sunshine can get through and reach into “the area where fruit should form.” (check p 59) The truth is, we humans are more concerned with fluff rather than fruit. Our fallen nature gravitates towards whatever is easy, comfortable and pleasurable. Getting pruned by God is none of those! And so, sometimes we fight God’s work instead of letting go and simply obeying. As I have said, God is never trying to hurt us, but instead, desiring to help us grow so that we, and others around us, can get a deeper sense of the Abundant Life.
These leaves are only a superficial display that makes it look like we have “it” all under control. Accumulating these leaves does not help us be better people, and worse, they can keep us from being all we can be. The author says, “Without pruning, growing Christians will only be able to live up to a fraction of their potential.” (p60) Want to be more like Jesus? Then you will be pruned. Want to have an eternal impact? Then you will be pruned. And the truth is, you will also have a deeper, more fulfilling life too. So see pruning as God’s blessing.
Leaves would represent things that we have grown used to doing, so they are easy and comfortable for us, as well as bring us some type of personal pleasure. For instance, let me continue to use the example of being led to close “my” class. I had been leading this Bible study for about 7 years, so it was an easy routine for me. I was comfortable teaching “my” ladies, most of whom I had grown to know and care for deeply through the years. And it brought me pleasure to have them attending, listening, and hopefully growing, because of “my” classes. But it was not challenging me anymore. I was not stepping out of the boat into the unknown. And any pleasure I was experiencing, might have begun to center around me, instead of God…yikes! Note all the “my’s” I said before (above). And so, SNIP, SNIP, it had to go. But this only left me open to a growth that has been absolutely freeing! You see, the more we choose to focus on God’s Eternal Kingdom, rather than our temporary one, the more Freedom to enjoy life we experience…and who doesn’t want that, right?
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