pruning produces “much fruit”

“I 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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
John 15:1-8 (NIV)

A few weeks ago, I pruned my rosebushes. I HATE doing it. It just seems so wrong. Inevitably, I end up cutting off what I would call – from my immediate perspective – perfectly good, nearly blooming rosebuds. But I know it needs to be done, so I just man up and do it. As I was pruning, I started thinking about the book Secrets of the Vine by Bruce Wilkinson.

Long story short, for about two weeks (during which time the scratches on my forearms have healed), I’ve been praying for God to prune me. I’ve been asking him to remove everything from my life that keeps me from bearing “much fruit.” I’m praying for God to take away everything that distracts me from what He wants me to be doing. I’m offering up everything in my life – the things I hate (easy), the things that I just do because I just . . . do (indifferent) and the things I love (not so easy).

On Tuesday, of last week, right in the middle of my prayer time, four things happened within a matter of about 30 minutes:

1. Full Sail called to see if I could have another song ready to record by Friday, May 7th.
2. I received an email message from my vocal coach offering an open spot.
3. I got an email telling me praise team wasn’t singing this week. (nothing to rehearse)
4. A client canceled a new hire computer training session, choosing to skip training for the new hire “this time.”

I have no idea what this means. If anything. Did I just lose a computer training client?

I went back to my prayer journal:

“Lord, please use me. Big or small. Now or later. Individually or as part of a group. Please allow me to serve you. Show me where to focus my energy . . . Please prune me – whatever that means. Lord, please comfort me and give me hope if you prune the things I love and/or the things I think I need. I trust you.”

I do trust Him, and when I prayed for pruning, I intentionally included the possibility that He would prune things I love . . .


But look:

“Change always takes much longer than we expect because to make room for the new, we have to get rid of some of the old selves we are still dragging around and, unconsciously, still invested in becoming.”
Working Identity by Herminia Ibarra

This devotional was dual posted at my “devotions only” blog, Pragmatic Communion.

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