The Pruning

January 19, 2015

The Pruning

John 15:1-2
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

The true substance and character of a healthy and fruitful branch is not in the outward, but in the inward. The outward is the glory and the fruit of the inward, but it is not the substance of it.
Why does God want to prune us even when we are fruitful? It is so that we can bear more fruit. Our outward fruitfulness may be already abundant and good, but human nature is such that even when we are spiritually fruitful, pride and complacency can creep in. When God blesses our lives with much increase in whatever dimension that takes place, it isn’t long before that little voice starts saying, ‘look what I have done’. Pruning keeps us focused on the vine and the source of our substance and fruitfulness. It creates renewed dependence upon the vine and strips the glory from the self. It helps us to not just dwell and live upon past experiences, miracles and victories. It serves to stretch us and cause to grow when we would be complacent to remain as we are. Without pruning things tend to grow wild. There may be a lot of growth, but not as much fruit. Pruning then brings focus. It keeps our eyes upon the Spirit and not upon the flesh. It causes us to remember our source of life and fruit so that we boast in the Vine and not in ourselves.
Don’t despise the days of pruning. They are the loving hands of the Father at work in you, His children. Left to itself, a branch may produce leaves, but not fruit and eventually even the leaves will die. The branch then must be cut off and cast out. It becomes a detriment to the health of the vine. Thank God He loves us enough that He doesn’t want that to happen to us and so He cares for us in what often may seem to be severe ways. Those who know Him rest in the passage from Romans 8:28, “All things work together for the good of those who love Him and called according to His purpose.” Often we don’t understand the why and wherefore of all that takes place in our lives, but our eyes and our hearts must remain steadfastly upon the Vinedresser. He is working all things for His glory and our good. He will never maliciously harm that which He loves and cares for, but do what is necessary to bring it to its highest and best potential and productivity.
What hinders the process of the pruning and in turn our growth, is our self, our ego and stubbornness to pursue our own interest and do our own will. In addition to this we often get offended at God or others that God uses in the process of our pruning. If it doesn’t make sense to us, then it must not be fair or just. God sees the end of a thing and we tend to get hung up and focused on the process. This is why it is so important to have a vision that sees the high calling that we have in Christ Jesus and not let anything or any circumstance detour us from that vision and that goal. Our ability to run the race is in that One who has called us to it and not in ourselves. Our reliance must always remain on Him and not on us.
Just remember Hebrews 12:7-11, “If] you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” God is training His people up to produce something more than religious flesh. He is preparing a people with the substance and the nature of His Son. So don’t neglect to praise Him even when it hurts. He loves you and He is ever working for your good.

Blessings,
#kent

Guard Your Heart

September 25, 2014

Guard Your Heart

Proverbs 4:23
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.

What is the heart of a person and why is it important to keep it? Most of us know that when the Word speaks of the heart it is in the figurative sense, but just as the heart is the primary organ of natural life, so it is in the spirit. Our heart speaks of our soul, our mind, the inner man, the seat of our understanding, will and emotion. It is really the key component that identifies who we are as an individual person and personality. When we understand that, then we understand why the Word is exhorting us to keep, guard and watch over our heart with all diligence. This diligence conveys a meaning as one would watch or guard in a prison. Perhaps it is so necessary to watch over our hearts in this manner because Jeremiah 17:9-10 tells us, “The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, [I] try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, [and] according to the fruit of his doings.” When the Lord searches our heart what does He find? When he tries the reins of our heart; are we like the sensitive and well trained horse that responds to his every gentle nudge and direction. Or, are we the wild rebellious stead, set upon our own freedom and our own way, unbridled in our affections and passions, bent on our own direction?

We need to be watching, even with a heart that is given to the Lord and in love with Him. Things of the world and our imaginations and desires can begin to creep in subtly, almost without detection. We know that we have an adversary, the devil, who stalks like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. What makes us vulnerable to him? It is our heart. It says, “for out of it are the issues of life.” What happens to your circulatory system when it develops a blockage or even worse your heart? Your physical life can be in serious trouble and the same can happen spiritually.
How do we guard our hearts? We continually hold ourselves up to the mirror of God’s Word. We know that if we are aligning ourselves with it in every respect then our heart is abiding in truth. Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
We also covet and pray for the Holy Spirit’s help in keeping our hearts, because He can show us the things we can’t see in ourselves. He is our hope and companion in the process of spiritual renewal and transformation that we desire to take place in us. 2 Timothy 1:14 says, “That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” It is Spirit of Christ in you, in union with your spirit, which must be the heart and mind, which you now live out of. As you do, those are the issues of life. What goes forth out of you is his Spirit-life. Our tongue and our actions are the best indicators of what is really in our heart. Jesus tells us in Luke 4:65, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”
Remember to not let your guard down, become complacent or be filled with apathy. You are a life-giver and in order for the issues of life to flow forth from you, you must be abiding in and carefully guarding the life of the spirit within you. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.”

Blessings,
#kent

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