Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pruned for Greatness! Part II

Every spring, the landscaper prunes the overgrown landscaping, beautifies, and refreshes my yard for the new season. One year, in my busyness and frugalness, (hey…settle down there was a recession) I skipped a year and decided I would wait until the following spring. During this time, we had an incredibly rainy spring and fall season so the foliage in the front yard literally looked like...a jungle. The scenery had lost its beauty and splendor, the plants lost their shape, some of the more delicate plantings died from a lack of sunlight, and even some of the larger plantings which once were so healthy showed signs of dis-ease and death (I think you know where I going with this).
Last time we chatted, we talked about God pruning us for our greatness and for His glory. But WHY does God HAVE TO prune us? I’m glad you asked! Can we talk?!

When a gardener prunes a plant or tree pruning is necessary for many reasons. Some of the reason include…to train or direct growth, control size and shape, improve fruit quality (by increasing light penetration), remove diseased or storm damaged branches, and aesthetics or beauty.

God, the Master Gardener (and oh, what a Master He is) prunes us for many of the same reasons. God uses pruning to train and direct our growth. He is concerned about us becoming mature, complete, and lacking nothing (James 1:3-5).

One of the ways that God prunes us to control our size and shape as believers is through humility. God may prune away arrogance and pride from our lives so that humility might grow and in fact abound in its place. When we humble ourselves before the Lord, we live and learn true obedience and He promises to lift us up in due season (1 Peter 5:6).

Fruit quality…this is my favorite reason for pruning! God prunes us to improve the quality of the fruit we bear. Just as the gardener, prunes long hanging branches so the shorter hanging branches can receive more light, God prunes us to increase the Light penetration (Jesus) in our hearts, minds, and spirits so that we might bear good healthy fruit.
“Future fruit is always the result of present obedience.”
Many of us will really love this reason for pruning. God prunes us to remove the dis-ease and storm damaged remnants (past hurts) that haunt us and keep us from moving forward mentally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. When the storms of life come (and they will come), God can take away all the pain, all the heartache, and dry our tears through the pruning process. (Hallelujah!) The key here is we have to choose to let IT go, so that God can take IT away.

Finally, beloved God prunes us so that we are beautiful to behold. Not beauty in the sense of vanity or debonair good looks (although I know you got it going on) but the beauty that comes from within, from a heart that longs for God and a heart that loves the things and the people of God. We must love what and who God loves! Pruning makes this love and this beauty possible.

When the landscaper finished pruning the landscaping, I walked outside and noticed the beauty again, almost for the first time; I noticed some of the greenery, the various shapes and sizes of the plants, and the fall colors. The same yard that I passed everyday and hardly gave a glance captured my attention and was fresh and new again. We are the same…when we allow God to prune us people look at us differently. They notice our beauty and our fresh new anointing.
In Part III we will talk about WHAT God prunes FROM our lives. Hope to see you later!

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