Thursday, September 20, 2012
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There was this plant in my office that had seen some good days and some bad days. It had really seen some pretty bad days for a while, and it looked like it was about to be a memory and there was going to be a little empty spot in the corner of my office. But one of our staff very lovingly took a knife to that plant. That doesn't sound very nice, but the plant was on its last legs and so she went and pruned out some of the dead or dying branches.
I've got good news! If you're a plant lover, and I hope you're not one of those who talks to plants. Do you? I've never really understood that, but I understand there are people who do. Anyway, here was this plant that almost didn't make it and now it was coming back to life, looking good! I call it the Lazarus plant; it sort of returned from the dead, except it didn't smell quite as bad as he did. The plant was back, and you know, it was that knife that did it. Oh, it looked like the knife was destroying the plant, but it was making it more alive.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Knife That Gives Life."
Now, our word for today from the Word of God is from John 15:1-2. "Jesus said, 'I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch..." (Whoa! Sounds like my office and that plant.) "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.'" Notice here that God throws away dead branches. But do you also notice what He does with the branches that He likes; the ones that are bearing fruit? He starts cutting on them. God prunes what He believes in.
Now, if He believes in you, He might be showing it right now by cutting you back. Yes, it is love. Yes, it will focus all of the resources on a few branches. I think that's what happened to my plant. Instead of the life going out to many branches, by pruning some, the life and resource was focused so the plant could flourish. And right now God loves you enough to bring out your very best, so He's removing some branches so you can be more alive than ever.
But if you're a plant and you're being pruned, you would probably say, "He's killing me!" And he might be saying to you, "No, no, I'm helping you! I'm giving you life. Oh, I know it feels like you're dying, but you're growing." Maybe you can feel the hand of God cutting on you and trimming you, challenging you, stretching you. You say, "What's wrong?" Maybe nothing's wrong. Maybe He's just pruning what He believes in so you can be more fruitful than ever.
He may be asking you to deal with an overload that's developed in your life. You've taken on too much, or maybe you've got an attitude that needs work, or there's some personal stronghold that's dragging you down. Hebrews 12:1 says, "As we run our race we should lay aside every weight that we carry." Maybe He's trying to get you to lose some spiritual weight. But don't fear the pruning of God. Oh, it may feel as if you're losing. It might even feel like you're dying, but this is divine surgery that will soon lead to new life.
He's cutting you back so you'll be more alive than ever. You are experiencing the knife that gives life.