Prune to Bear the Fruit of Love
Oh Jesus... My mind is a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions with all that God has been speaking to my heart. Contemplating what really is important in this life here on earth. Thinking about what He has been revealing to me about who, not just myself, but we as Christians are created for, it is shifting my heart, mind and thoughts as to what truly is important. Yes, I feel like God has called me to equip the saints, young and old. But I wonder sometimes, does it need to happen within the four walls of a church? Today He started to speak to me about pruning.
John 15:1-3The Message (MSG) The Vine and the Branches “I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.
I wonder about not only myself, but the ministry that I am part of. And the questions started flow... Where is it that God wants to prune me so that the fruit that I bear is juicier and bigger? Where in the church is He wanting to prune so that it produces the fruit that He is looking for? It is then that I start to think about life, and how so often I wonder if I will get out of the mundaneness of life. However, at the same time wanting things to change and be what I have seen they could be. How can this all change Lord? What can be done?
Nothing can change with just the words of a person. Yes, our words have the power of Christ behind them but if we don't truly mean them, do they have that power? So often people do mean things they say, but they want others to take action. They don't want to get their hands dirty. They want others to do the work for them. They want others to cultivate the ground and if something gets hard, they hand over their shovel and clippers and give up. And because of that, nothing seems to change. People put all the work in but because others are giving up, all the work gets put onto just a few people and things start to dwindle. People are done with the act of “church" and they want Jesus.
God is ready to break out of the four walls of the church. Not just at the place I am at, but all over. So many people are hungry for the real deal God but will not step into the church walls because of the hypocrisy that takes place. People read the Bible and they see what Jesus did, what He commanded the disciples to do and they do not see that in Christians today. God is ready to break out...but will we be willing to go with Him? Will we be willing to allow Him to prune us to shape us into who He has called us to be? I think about what Jesus commanded the disciples, the loving things but also the harder things. And I wonder, am I doing those things? Am I doing what Jesus has commanded all of us to do.
Matthew 22:37-40New International Version (NIV) 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
I know that I am not doing these things to the fullest of who I am. I am not living up to what a true follower of Jesus Christ is called to. To radically love. And God is pruning me to walk as a disciple filled with the radical love of Jesus, a real deal disciple of Jesus Christ. He is pruning the fear of not only man, but of myself out of me. Yes, it is a process but it is happening. Some people may call it radical christianity. But I believe that that is how we are supposed to be. How will people know that we are Christians if we don't stand out? Not to stand out to show ourselves, but to stand out in the way that we are so radically in love with Jesus that we radically love every single person that we come in contact with. Jesus is pruning me to be that. A radical lover of Jesus and a radical lover of all of His Children! It says in the Bible that they will know us by our love (John 13:35). When I walk down the isle of a grocery store, does the person next to me know that I am a Christian because of the love that radiates from me? Most often, not. And that is an area that He is pruning me...People are ready for Jesus to shine through. And I need to release myself so that Jesus can shine through me wherever I go! God wants the fruit that we all produce to be big and juicy so that everyone can see His love for them through us. Living our lives through the eyes of love.