Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pruned for Greatness! Part III

On the heels of our corporate fast, there is much excitement and anticipation in the air. We except that God will do something spectacular for us individually and as the body of Christ. Some of us have already received blessings (non material) too rich to compare to anything material that God has for us. (Oh, we still want our blessings, don’t judge me… just keeping it real). Fasting and prayer changes your perspective on what really is important and what really matters.

As the fast ends, I want to close the discussion we started at the beginning of the fast…“Pruned for Greatness”. In our first talk, we said that God prunes us for our greatness and for His glory, then we chatted about the reasons God prunes us. In this final post in the series, we discuss WHAT God prunes FROM our lives. (Ouch!!) Yes, it can be very painful to lose the relationships, places, desires, habits, plans, and attitudes (After all, that’s just how he/she is… I am sure you have heard or used this excuse to justify someone’s bad behavior or someone has used it to describe you… behind your back, hmmm) in our lives that WE hold (and hold to) so dear. The truth is what we choose to hold on to may not have a place in the Kingdom and these blessing blockers keep us from living in God’s will. And so…God begins the pruning process. When God prunes one thing, His plan is to replace it with something better, something more useful to you, those you interact with, and the Kingdom.

God prunes our selfishness in exchange for generosity, anger in exchange for kindness, worry in exchange for faith, arrogance in exchange for humility, fear in exchange for Holy Ghost boldness, bitterness in exchange peace and love, and worldly friendships (relationships) in exchange for Godly friendships and relationships that support, sustain, and encourage our spiritual growth…just to name a few.

Friendships and relationships are painful to release when God starts the pruning process, but very important in terms of spiritual growth. We should choose carefully the people we allow in our circle of friends and even more selective with the inner circle. Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens the wits of another”. (Who are you letting sharpen you and what instrument are they using?) We have to partner with people who challenge our spiritual growth and help us along in the transformation process. Some people that we have connected with have no interest in our God or our salvation. Anyone not actively involved in helping us seek God and His will for our lives, is ultimately against what is most important to us. When we consider our friendships and relationships, we must remember that quality is more important that quantity.

God will use pruning to direct our time. What are we spending our time doing and do these things matter to the Kingdom? God will redirect our time towards Kingdom building and rebuilding our lives. (Lives that I am sure where pretty much in chaos before we turned them over to Him. I’ll speak for myself).

God will also prune away our sense of self-reliance and security and replace it with dependence. God wants us to rely on Him, to do this He may even prune away our earthly positions, possessions (STUFF) and status. Many of us are doers and we like to be in control of every aspect of our lives and the lives of those around us. We find it difficult to relinquish control to a God that we cannot see. (I know what you’re thinking…How do I know that He has it all covered? Maybe He needs MY help! Ah, been there…done that! Relax!) Believe or not, He does have it ALL covered and when He needs our help, He will provide us with clear directions for our part in HIS plans. Our job is to listen THEN obey! We have to learn by faith to believe.

God prunes anything that keeps us from intimacy with Him.
God prunes anything that keeps us from Kingdom living and Kingdom building.
God prunes those attitudes, attributes, behaviors, relationships, and habits that keep us from being healthy and that destroy or compromise our testimony.
God prunes away the things that keep us from keeping God things…or first things first.

You’re probably thinking if God prunes away EVERYTHING that is important to me, what will I have left? What about MY dreams, plans, goals, and desires?

God does want to fulfill our dreams, plans, and desires. Our dreams, plans, and desires, matter to God. WE matter to Him! He loves us with a deep unwavering compassionate commitment. He promised us a future with a HOPE (Jeremiah 29:11). Jesus came so that our lives would be rich, full, and abundant. The dreams that we pursue should be the dreams that God placed deep within us and a relationship with Him causes those dreams, plans, and desires to surface AND line up with His will for our lives.

“True beauty comes from the deep and often painful pruning of OUR hopes, dreams, and desires.”

Sharing some of the pictures of the Block Party which ended the Sacred Season of Success. Serving at the Bread of Life.

No comments: