Pruning, though painful, causes growth.
We’ve got obstacles that need to be removed and this is where the life-long work of pruning comes in, removing the sin, scooping out the suffocating fear, redirecting the anger, having our minds renovated by the Scriptures and frankly, at times doing major site work with those traumas that need shovels and back hoes and bulldozers….and friends to help in the process.
Here I draw a helix…a circular pattern over and over and begin cutting it out:
An early theologian said wisely that all through our life, we are in a maturing cycle (I’m just drawing a circular pattern.) But here’s the cycle: purification…that’s the cleaning out pruning phase, illumination…that’s the phase full of AHA moments, full of the struggle of wrestling, of learning from the Word, and then comes the glory and joy of UNION with God …which is where we are headed anyway, …and then back to purification in a never ending cycle.
And, perhaps we get stuck in our maturing as branches on the Vine believing that Christianity should be one way or the other. I get addicted to the adrenaline rush of illumination, the growing, phase…because who likes purification really. Or, I get so focused on union and forget that in order to develop that close communion with God, the cleaning out and the gulping up big glasses of the wisdom and the Presence of God alive in the Scriptures makes the union possible, makes the union strong.
And then, perhaps the Christian life is not a ladder going higher and higher as we strive and strain toward a distant God, but more this cycle: purification, illumination and union over and over and over as we throw off everything that hinders in a deeper surrendering, a deeper resting into a God with His arms wide open waiting to receive us all this time.
And it is in the deep surrender that the fruit comes naturally.
Friend, this Lent are there places in our life that need tending, pruning and healing which will transform your somewhat tentative good news to morph into hope-filled, Jesus-saturated, power-plugged good news? This is one of the major questions I hope you will listen for this Lent.
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