Have you ever ordered something on-line expecting it to be one size only to be disheartened when it arrived? Or have you believed the marketers’ promises of special amazing features, only to get half of them functional? Has there been a time when you purchased something that looked really good from the outside, only to be disappointed with the results?
Left unto ourselves, that’s what can happen to us spiritually. You and I may produce plenty of leaves. We might look like flourishing plants! But there may not much fruit on our branches.
What might be keeping you and me from our blooming potential? Jesus addresses another key component for developing a fruit-bearing life in John 15. Maybe you and I are in need of a good cleanse.
…and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit. (John 15:2b)
Increase Your Bloom Ability by Allowing God to Cleanse You
Extra leaves and stems use up the nutrients and resources needed for fruit-bearing. One way the Vinedresser cleanses the branches, is to pull off the life-sucking extras in the spring that drain the nutrients from producing fruit. Note, this is His regular activity. You and I repeatedly find ourselves in need of a good spring cleaning. Although we have nothing to do with it, I find it helpful to acknowledge this reality by inviting God to do His work in me.
I’m not discerning enough on my own to become more like Jesus, recognizing what is hindering fruit-production verses what is necessary for growth. But I can pray for a willingness to cooperate with anything and everything that lines up with Scripture. I might ask myself:
- What uses of my time are more centered on what the world values – than what God values?
- What seems to spike up onto the calendar appearing urgent and overcoming the important?
- To what establishments is my money spent? Are they God-honoring – or do I spend it just like everyone else?
- Do my possessions look like the pile at my neighbors, who is NOT aiming to bloom for Christ, or is there a distinct contrast between us?
- Are my actions God-honoring to those around me? Or am I stuck in the same emotional rut I found myself one, two or five years ago?
The key here is this: It’s not enough just to look good. Looking like a fruitful branch is not the same as being one. We need the supernatural work of the Vinedresser for that.
May we be receptive and open to receive whatever cleaning the Father sees fit to do in our lives so that we will become more and more fruitful from the inside out.