It’s pruning season and what better tool to use than the Word of God. If you are wandering what step to take next to prepare for 2015, how to do better, go farther, and grow stronger, you may need to do some pruning first. I write about this almost every year, because it is something that has become an annual event for me. This is the time of year when I sit down to pray about goals for next year, and evaluate the things and relationships I currently have. This is the time of year when I take a good honest look at what is helping me advance and prosper, what is holding me back, who is adding value to my life and my walk with the Lord, and what relationships are more of a burden and not a blessing in my life.
That last piece may seem harsh, but I have come to a point in my life where my relationships must be meaningful, and beneficial. Not everyone is supposed to be in our lives forever, and some people in our lives ought not be there at all. Understand me on this, there are many people who would prefer to be stuck in their rut. They want to complain about their lives and the world, and while they ask for advice, they’d rather stay where they are because grieving their situation is more comfortable than making the effort to make changes. People in bad relationships justify staying by saying they can’t imagine their life without this person so they’d rather be miserable than be alone.
People engaged in destructive behaviors use the same excuse, they cannot live without alcohol, or smoking even though they know it is not healthy or in any way beneficial.
Perhaps what has kept you tangled and bound this year is your attitude. You cannot find the strength to be happy for someone who is getting the things you have been praying about. Maybe you went through a painful experience and cannot seem to get beyond the disappointment. There is help for all of us, no matter what negative, toxic destructive thing is within us.
God’s Word is perfect and sharp so all of the unwanted, undesirable branches of distraction, disappointment, diversion and delay can be cut off without harming us Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
All living things need attention and care if they are to flourish and become beautiful. Many plants and trees require pruning to become all they can be, but before we prune, we need to have to have some expectation of the end result. How do you want your life to look? What do you desire for yourself?
It’s time to start pruning. It is important to use the right tool for the right situation. Something of significant size will work for large obstacles, but they are not good for smaller younger situations. For example, if you just met someone who has a jealous spirit, gently excuse yourself from that relationship. If you just started something destructive such as smoking, quitting will be easier for you now, walk away before more serious treatment programs are needed. If you just started a relationship that is already uncomfortable and the people around you are not supportive, use wisdom and move on. If it has been a while that you’ve known someone or dealt with a certain situation, you may have to just make a clean break. Don’t fight it, get help. Find someone who will hold you accountable for making a sharp turn and not let you turn back. Partner with someone who will pray with you while you go through the process. Get back to church and Study with Word for yourself, your future depends on it.
Don’t be discouraged. Before we can stand before the Lord and serve him in holiness, we have to be clean. This process might leave you feeling empty, or incomplete for a little while, but think of the shrub that is pruned and looks a little bare, before long, after it has gone through this trial of being cut away, cut back, it is full, and lush, and beautiful. Your life too will feel different, but if you truly want to grow, and become prosperous in all areas of your life, you have to let some things go. It is through the pruning process that God develops us and his strength in us. This is the process by which he molds us with the details of his own character, and the when we begin to take on more of his likeness, we are in the best shape to serve him for eternity, never to visit the hard, disappointing, destructive things of yesterday.
Praise the name of Jesus!
Be good, be careful, and be a blessing to someone today.