"...My Father is the gardener. 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."
In my limited understand of this thing we call a walk of faith I am pretty sure of one thing. We'll never be finished with the pruning process until we're in our glorified bodies in heaven. Pruning is an ongoing necessity to remain in the work of God. Why do I believe this? Because we can't continue to serve God throughout our lives without growing. Our walk of faith isn't a one time deal where you say a prayer and then continue on with life as it was. No, faith requires daily growth. Living a life in service to God requires our effort... I love the way Francis Chan describes it in his book Crazy Love... he writes that the Christian life (the narrow way) is a lot like swimming up stream in a river... if you stop swimming you will float backwards... there is no stand still! You cannot stay in the same place - you're either growing or you're sliding back into your old habits...
Today I want to be totally honest with you. I haven't been swimming. I've been feeling the current of the river pulling me back because somewhere along the way I stopped swimming. Somehow God got knocked off the throne in my life. I wish I could travel back in my mind to pinpoint exactly when that happened... it sure would make it easier to fix things. All I know is that I realized I have been neglecting the love of my life... Jesus.
We all know what happens - life. It gets busy and we get distracted. But I've been asking myself how that makes it okay or somehow more acceptable or understandable. It doesn't! If I truly believe the truths of the Bible then nothing at all should stand between me and my Savior! There should be no greater joy than to spend time with Him! I should wake up every morning just itching to be with God and then let HIM direct the rest of my day.
But something has been getting between us lately .. the internet. Would it shock you if I told you I pour my coffee in the morning and sit down to check facebook? I know, it probably doesn't. That's the world we live in, but I don't want to anymore.
For our first 3 years of marriage we didn't have a computer. Then in our 4th year we had John's work laptop at home... and sometimes we had internet. We've only had our own computer and internet service for a little less than a year. Want to know how I spent my mornings before we had this marvelous technology?
...reading my Bible. Yes, I would sit down with my mug of coffee and the Bible and read for a long time. If I was doing a Bible Study I would work on that. Then, I would get to the housework and anything else I had going on. I need that back.
The problem is that I know myself. I am weak and selfish. I have very little willpower and I'm not great at moderation. Things tend to be pretty black and white for me. I know that's not always great, but that's the way I see the world (usually.)
So it's time for pruning. Pruning doesn't sound like a very pleasant experience in the "during" part of things... but the end result is well worth it. I know - I've been through some pruning before. I hope I go through it until the day I die... it means I'm growing more like Him.
I strongly feel God has asked me to cut some things out of my life and the first being facebook. (I told you pruning hurt!) I spent the last week having an argument with myself. It won't be as easy to keep in touch with old friends... I won't get to see all the pictures... worse, people won't get to see all the fun pictures of me (sin is ugly isn't it? There you have it... brutal honesty.) But at the end of all my arguments the still small voice just asked me the same question, "Is that worth more than me?"
It reminds me of the famous love chapter in 1 Corinthians 13 ... basically Paul is saying if I've got all of this, but don't have Love... I've got nothing...
God is Love. If I have over 500 facebook friends, a blog fan page, easier communication, fun pictures, a portal to see into everyone elses life... but I don't have HIM... I've got nothing.
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