About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman
last week in May and our fragrant-filled blossoming bushes have exploded
in vibrant colour, but this God-created magnificence comes with a cost.
yourself as our lilac bush in our back yard, outdoor family room.
Right now you are in full bloom and your aroma saturates your
surroundings, but as usual, you know what comes next, and it's not
pretty. As a matter of fact,
it's painful. It's a yearly
routine. If you are to reach
your full potential, within three weeks after your blossoms fade into a
memory you'll see the pruning scissors heading your way.
Cutting off dead branches is one thing, but cutting into live
branches is another thing altogether.
Despite the pain, with a sigh of submission you yield to the
process of pruning. You know
it produces productivity. It's
what you need in a world inflicted with death and decay.
You admit it, sometimes death gives birth to life, and when death
hits part of you, new life is certain.
It sounds so weird, so illogical, so backward, but doesn't
backward sound like something your Creator would do?
What seems backward to you is forward to Him. Look at what John 15:1 and
am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every
branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear
fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful."
could be said about these two verses, some of which have caused
considerable controversy over the centuries, but this one thing is sure.
If you are a truly born-again-of-the-Spirit Christian, and that
is the only kind of Christian there is, your heavenly Father will pull
out His pruning scissors, and like our lilac bush, it will be painful as
He slices into your life.
God really cut into our lives with His pruning scissors, and what does
that look like? Look at the
life of the apostle Paul. He
was a very productive Christian but in the midst of his productivity he
suffered greatly. At one
point he was stuck in prison for two years.
How backward and illogical is that?
Imprisonment would have sliced a huge chunk out of his life of
productive ministry. He was
called to go and preach the gospel, but how could he do that while in
prison? Could it have
something to do with pruning scissors?
Remember, he was also called to suffer, as stated in Acts 9:15
and 16. Your
heavenly Father does possess pruning scissors, and He does use them.
our self-gratifying, western-world Christianity the topic of having our
lives pruned by God gets little pulpit press.
Many have never given it a second thought and so when the scissors come
their way, they don't recognize them.
Instead, they complain and blame the devil, but it's not the
devil. If that is your
reaction to pruning, you will fail to benefit from the process.
You will have wasted God's time and effort in your life.
To the degree, then, that you recognize and yield to the pain of
pruning, will be the degree to which you will become the fragrant-filled,
blossoming, productive Christian you have been pruned to be.