“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him,
bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
I was in my third “desert wilderness” journey with God when I asked Him if this was another “Job story” He was taking me through- it had all the earmarks of one. Immediately, I heard in my spirit, “This isn’t a Job story, it’s a pruning story.” What could that mean, I wondered.
I found out quickly exactly what it meant to be pruned. Pruning is a season, it’s a time of preparation for greater works, greater fruit, greater purpose in Christ. I found out even fruitful branches need pruning.
The act of pruning seems harsh, as a blade is required to selectively remove diseased, damaged, dead, non-productive, structurally unsound or unwanted branches. But, pruning is also necessary to control or direct the growth of a plant and it also helps to increase the plant’s flowers or fruit.
God wants all of us to bear fruit throughout our lives and live lives that are abundant and fruitful.
Because of His goodness, God desires to prune us for MORE. More victory in our battles, more growth, more peace, more prosperity on every level, greater works … and more than anything, MORE like Christ.
To be clear, pruning is not God’s punishment or His displeasure of us. He will not abandon us during His pruning season. On the contrary, He gently and carefully removes the hindrances that keep us from being all He created us to be and do. We should not consider this season a place of setback or defeat, although it may FEEL like it. Consider it a refining season where we keep our eyes on God, the author, and perfecter of our faith.
God knows what lives in our hearts. We don’t. “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9. He knows which twigs, branches, and roots need to be removed. In a pruning season, God shows us what’s in our heart and what sins have taken root and what He wants to remove. Our job is to cooperate with Him as He exposes our self-righteousness, bitterness, attitudes, behaviors and the like, so that He may remove them from our lives.
I found out what lived in my heart when God began pruning me. Things I had no idea even existed. As a result, much of my time was spent on my face asking for forgiveness. A contrite heart always draws God near; I experienced His loving presence the entire time He was pruning me!
There is hope and victory in the desert place of pruning when we submit ourselves to God and obey Him as He so carefully exposes and removes the dead, diseased branches, and sinful roots in our life. Our obedience ensures we won’t be in the pruning season any longer than necessary.
Be thankful when God chooses to prune you and watch Him do greater works in and through you. You have a greater purpose in Christ- beyond anything you can comprehend!