By Mark DeJesus
Everybody needs a little spiritual pruning every now and then. (iStock photo )
We are designed to produce fruit in our lives, manifesting the ways of God through changed lives and relationships that display His ways. Yet there is nothing more discouraging than feeling like your life is not producing any fruit.
If we are honest, a lot of accusation and condemnation can pummel the mind, keeping us wondering whether our lives even make a difference.
Although I never try to answer questions with pat answers, I do think there are two critical things to keep in mind if you honestly feel that you are not seeing the fruit you believe God can manifest in your life.
1. Your investment needs more time. In the natural, we all understand that when you plant a seed in the ground it is utterly foolish to expect fruit the next morning. But we tend to treat our spiritual lives as though the fruit should show right away.
It doesn’t work that way in the natural, nor does it in the spiritual. Seeds need to grow into plants. Then plants over time begin to blossom and produce fruit. A lot of time and care go into the full process.
There are seasons of growing a harvest and you need to know what season of life are you in. If you are an overcoming believer, odds are you are planting seeds everywhere. You would never drop a seed in the ground and expect to eat fruit the next day. But we tend to do this with our spiritual life.
The quick results mindset of today does not fit into the Kingdom of God. Most major changes often work through a lifetime of investment. Even bigger changes can take generations to take place. So we must keep the bigger picture in mind of what we are contending for, long term.
We also need to find who we are in the process of what God is doing. If we connect to our role effectively, the overall work that God is doing will increase in effectiveness.
There is no overnight success, no matter what people may think. Those who appear to manifest overnight success have years of investment and faithfulness that brought about the fruit. It appears to others that fruit just appeared overnight. Yet behind the scenes, there was a lot of prayer, contending, disappointment and tenacity involved.
Fruitfulness takes steady perseverance, the ability to hang in there when everyone around you has quit. It also takes resilience, the ability to bounce back from falling down or being hurt.
The most fruitful people learn to live as overcomers. They don’t let life push them back from their potential. They keep the big picture in mind and they daily invest into that larger vision.
I have a hunch that you may just need to stay it and not quit. Millions start strong, but a minuscule amount of people remain to see it through.
2. You are being pruned. As pruning helps a tree in the natural, so does it in the spiritual. Our Father in heaven is the vinedresser, who loves us deeply. He cares for us so much that He prunes off areas that are not who God made us to be. He also prunes off areas that can be hindrances to us producing the maximum amount of fruit over the long term.
Most believers hate pruning, but it doesn’t need to be a dreaded process. The reason the pruning process is so painful for some is that the areas God is pruning have become so much a part of their life that living without these areas becomes painful.
It’s hard when God starts causing us to face our fears rather than running from them. We get pruned when God wants us to stop blaming other people and grow up into greater maturity.
Pruning gets hard when we have to let go of our addictions as comforts for our life. The anger has to go. The false coping has to go. The pity parties have to stop.
God is so loving. He knows exactly how to prune us, because He is the perfect vinedresser. He doesn’t condemn us, use guilt or accuse us into conformity. He knows in the beauty of love how to address the areas of our life that will hurt us in the long run.
But most avoid this process at all costs.
A lot of our coping patterns and reliance agents become idols. We focus on them so much we cannot see God in our situations. We lean on them for life, but they are killing us in the long run. Our self-loathing, fears, unworthiness and addictions, to name some, seem to serve us, but are destroying our fruitfulness.
Pruning only works well if you get to the root of that particular branch. Otherwise it just grows back. So many waste their time trying to clip the ends of the branches, when God needs to get to a deeper root system. When we hit the root system, we address the areas that get to the heart. It exposes what we live by to cope, heal and function. Our Father wants us firmly rooted in Christ and established in the love relationships He has for us as the perfect Dad. Everything else is a cheap imitation.
The issues that God did not create us with all need to eventually die and burn away. As a planting of God, we must know there are areas of our life that are not in alignment with who God made us to be. The pruning addresses this.
During pruning seasons, things seem slow and fruit doesn’t seem to be popping up everywhere. But just wait. If you let the process of transformation have its effect, you will have more fruit than you will know what to do with!
Many people try to avoid or medicate away their pruning process instead of letting a loving Father teach them into the next stage of breakthrough. We wander around the mountain over and over.
Why avoid it, when amazing fruitfulness is right around the corner?