In The River | January 2006
Everybody must get “pruned; Everybody must get pruned. He prunes you when you’re trying to be so good; He prunes you just like He said He would...”
Sound familiar? If you are a “soaker,” a fruit-bearing tree extending your roots into the River of the God, do not be surprised when Papa prunes you.
Why would God help you to produce fruit only to cut it off? Because He knows that while you are soaking, His Presence courses through you like a River, and He knows that regardless of how much He subtracts from your life, something much great- er will grow in its place. But the only way to do that is to subtract areas where you have been “branching out” too far. Mercilessly, it seems, He starts to work sacrificing the good for the best.
“But God,” you cry, “I thought you liked my little fruit” I grunted all winter to produce it, and now just when the season changes, you are cutting it off! It hurts!”
Chop. There goes that relationship. Chop. There goes that job. Chop. There goes that ministry. Chop. Well, I can understand that loss. Chop. But I can’t understand that one!
Jesus told the disciples the night before He was crucified that they were about to be pruned, and they did not understand it, either. That very night He was arrested. The next day He was dead. “If I don’t go away,” He had said, “the Comforter won’t come to you.”
But even after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, weeks went by without any appearance of the promised “comfort.” Then suddenly as the disciples were together waiting, “There came a sound from Heaven...”
The Father does the same to us. He increases the dimension of His presence in our lives by putting us in a helpless place and removing pursuits that seemed godly but sapped away our devotion to Him. Then suddenly, a new rush of His love fills the branch. It is the same life of Jesus inside, and this time it produces not one specimen but a bough hanging conveniently low under the weight of fruit. Fruit simply happens to the Christian who soaks in His presence. It is a by-product not the focus.
The Father sacrifices good fruit for greater fruit, and He also prunes off threats to the fruit. Through Jesus’ passion and resurrection, the Father pruned the disciples in another way. He removed Judas, the one among the twelve who never changed, from the list of would-be leaders of the Church which was about to be born. God saw the blight in him that the others could not see. For three years the threat kept growing until the Father could no longer let the risk remain to the fruit that was about to come. What would have happened if God had entrusted His Pentecostal power to someone so deceived? But in place of Judas, 3,000 new births appeared on the day of Pentecost.
Are a whole lot of shaking and pruning going on in your life? Are you among those who are feeling rather bare and fruitless right now? What will you do in the meantime?
God is sovereign in your life. Commit to God what you cannot now understand. Let go of the old while you keep your roots soaking in the River of His love. If you keep absorbing more of Him, what now looks dead to men will live again in a far more abundant form.
This issue focuses on the anointing of the Holy Spirit, particularly for leaders. If the Lord has pruned you recently, maybe the articles you read will put fresh oil on the wounds and keep you soaking in His love.
Originally Published January/February 2006 Editor Melinda Fish