Pruning Day

I went out of my way to help. I rearranged things in my day to be there, and God brought things to mind that may have been overlooked. It’s always more fun to offer to do things before you’re asked! Yet, in all of this, the response I received was less than desirable! The one I wanted to serve met me with ungratefulness, unkind words, a harsh tone, and a whole lot of self.

“You give glory to My Father when you produce a lot of fruit; in this way, you become My disciples.”

John 15:8 GNT

The LORD has had this verse in front of me for a couple of weeks, now. He clearly wanted me to write about the fruits of the Spirit, yet He was also very clear about His timing. As the time for this post drew nearer, the above situation raised its beautiful, yet hideous, head. Yup. Satan wanted to blur the attraction of the Spirit’s fruit and show how I was mistreated…how I would be right in any negative reaction; after all, that’s what was done to me, right? My insides were in knots. I had so many conflicting emotions. I went to the only place I know to find stability–at the feet of my God, Who reminded me of the above verse…In the situation with this individual, how did I show that I was a follower of Jesus? Did I let God’s Spirit work through me and give glory to My Father?

  • Love–I clearly spoke of my love to this person, even though I was mad. My desire to help was still there, as I tried to help this person understand why I did what I did, that this person was whom I was thinking of, constantly. I expressed to this person my desire to show my love through visible and invisible means and explained how the reaction I received had made me feel. God also helped me express love in speaking to this person about how we demonstrate love to others, thinking of them first, rather than ourselves. In my prayer time with Him, God led me to choose to forgive.
  • Joy–I saw God’s hand in bringing to mind things in this person’s day that I hadn’t thought of…ways that would, hopefully, bless this person and help this individual feel loved. I, initially, was overjoyed with the opportunities God gave me. Once the reaction hit, though, I gave that my focus, and my joy diminished. Ugh! I wish I wouldn’t let circumstances overshadow joy, sometimes!
  • Peace–During the “reaction” and shortly thereafter, I was fragmented. I didn’t experience the wholeness that God brings. Only when I laid it at His feet afterward, chose to forgive, and let Him use this in my life as a means to grow me did He graciously piece me back together, and my mind cleared.
  • Patience–While God has grown me in this area over the years, I have to say I wasn’t ultra patient on this one. While I may not have raised my voice, my anger was evident in my tone and body language.
  • Kindness–The Spirit was evident, as He brought to mind the things that would kindly serve the needs of this person. I saw His perfect timing, as He knew He would have me writing about this today. Unfortunately, my attention shifted from kindness to selfishness (how I was hurt and wrongly treated). Thank you, LORD, for Your kindness in calling me back to submitting to You and knitting my insides back together!
  • Goodness–The LORD enabled me to express His goodness at the beginning of this situation, but I clouded it, when I acted out of my own power and wasn’t yielding to Him completely.
  • Faithfulness–I was receptive to how He wanted to use me at the beginning, but when confrontation arose, I straddled the line of His path and mine, like a race car with one side of its tires on the grass and one side on the pavement; it doesn’t take long to lose control.
  • Gentleness–There were times in the situation where I could feel the LORD’s power working through me…He expressed it when He withheld my anger and spoke through me with a gentle answer. I wish I would’ve yielded to Him throughout the entire situation!
  • Self-Control–It’s pretty safe to say that I was acting like an insubordinate citizen of His kingdom during times of this situation.

A few years back, my husband and I were doing some work outside, in front of our house. We have this bush (pictured above in its glory…lovely, growing, and full of life). Unfortunately, over the years, we saw more and more empty branches, and the more dead branches there were made the entire bush look super unhealthy! It was time to prune! I grabbed my hedge sheers and pruner and “went to town,” cutting off all the dead branches. At one point, my husband looked over at the measly little bush that remained and said, “We should just pull it out; there’s not going to be anything left.” I remember being so excited, though, in that moment, with the anticipation of what the pruning would do and discussing the spiritual visual God gave us in that bush. Not too long after, the bush was alive with new growth and was flourishing!

Lord, please use this situation to grow me, and flourish within me! Remove the roots of sin that need removing and enable me to truly live, so others can see You in me!

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