May 21, 2018
Have you ever been in a season where it feels like things are being taken away from you? Maybe you didn’t get the promotion you were going after, or perhaps everything just got quiet, and you’re feeling lost and unsure of where to spend your time. If this sounds familiar then you might just be in a season of pruning.
You may hear that word and think, “Gross! That doesn’t sound like fun!” but bear with me. The church has associated pruning with punishment, lack and maybe even with the idea that you’ve done something wrong. However, this does not align with the truth that God is in a good mood! So how do we reconcile God’s goodness with things being cut from our lives? Let’s take a look at this week’s Monday Motivation video for more:
In a nutshell:
- John 15:1-2 says, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 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.”
- When I was in high school my uncle owned a vineyard. I didn’t care much about vineyards because I was 15, but he would have me prune the vines.
- I remember seeing vines that were about 6 ft long with grapes and leaves, and then there’d be another 6 feet that were just leaves without grapes, and then there’d be about 20 feet that didn’t even have leaves but was rather just a stick.
- My uncle explained to me that the nature of a vine is that it will overextend itself to the point that it can no longer bear fruit. So, you have to cut it back to the place where it last bore fruit, and it will put its energy into growing grapes again instead of making sticks.
- When I read John 15 a few years later when I was saved, I saw that Jesus basically said you have two options: you can be pruned, or you can be cut off. There isn’t the option of not being cut when you’re in a vineyard.
- You get cut off when you use all of your energy producing stick, and pretty soon all there is is a stick without any leaves of fruit.
- God prunes us not to hurt us but to grow our capacity to produce fruit.
Overextending In Real Life
Moral of the story? A grapevine simply becomes a stick tree if it gets overextended. If you don’t prune the branch all the way back to its area of fruitfulness, then the vine’s capacity to produce fruit will be siphoned off to grow sticks.
This is a great example in our own lives and I’m sure you can relate. If you overextend yourself beyond your personal calling and don’t prune (quit) your activities that are fruitless, you’ll use the capacity you do have on things that don’t really matter. The consequences of this are that you don’t put your energy towards the things that really matter to God, and wear yourself out on meaningless tasks. In the end, if you don’t catch it, you could even derail your destiny. But if you allow God in to prune you, to take off the things that aren’t fruitful in your life, you’ll submit to a process that actually brings you closer into friendship with God.
Activation for the Week
The point of being pruned is not that you would live a limited life caged in by religion and relegated to boredom. In fact, it’s in the pruning that you get to live fully actualized, in the things that you are specifically called to do in this season. As you steward the things God has for you now, you’ll actually grow in character and wisdom for even greater capacity in future seasons.
So, my challenge to you today is to take inventory of all of the things you spend your time, energy and money on. Make a list of where you’re actually investing your life, and then assess whether you’re living overextended and burned out. If so, it may be time to cut some things out, with the help of Holy Spirit. You can approach each item on your list with these questions.
- Is this something that God is highlighting for me in this season?
- Is this something that I need to put down for a season?
I pray that you’ll receive clarity to move forward in God’s purpose for you. Remember, if you don’t manage your life, others will. If you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will. If you don’t set boundaries for yourself, the crowd will get what they think they need from you, but soon there will be nothing left to get. If you overextend yourself you will get to a place where you no longer bear fruit. And if God is pruning you in this season, it’s not to hurt you but it’s so that you can bear more fruit. And that, my friend, is good news!
How do you stay close to the vine? Is it easy for you to overextend yourself? I’d love to hear what you think about this in the comments below!
If you want to grow your capacity, learn to say yes to the things God has for you and no to the things that distract you, and ultimately live in God’s promise of abundance, then I encourage you to check out, “Poverty, Riches and Wealth”! The book is available now, and I’ll be releasing the E-Course this fall. Sign up to be updated on release info here.
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