Jesus has just been speaking to His disciples about being fruitful after His departure. He had spoken about them ‘bearing fruit’, ‘more fruit’ and ‘much fruit’ and He illustrated His talk with examples of a vine and the need for its pruning in order to stimulate fruitfulness. Then said ‘I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete’ (John 15:11).
Sometimes we may find that we’re going through a difficult time and we wonder if we’ll ever recover and get back to the days when we knew God was working in us and using us in fruitful service.
Once my wife and I were going through a particularly testing time in leadership until God revealed what was going on and gave us the wisdom to deal with the matter following biblical guidelines. Shortly after that the congregation began to experience an outpouring of blessing, greater than anything they had ever known before. We knew then we had just been through a pruning process. The end result was an experience of joy and rejoicing as we were drawn closer to each other and to the Lord.
Whatever the nature of the ‘pruning’ it’s always for our good. The writer of Hebrews says, ‘No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it’ (Hebrews 12:11). Or as Paul could say, ‘We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character hope’ (Romans 5:3).
When God’s at work in our lives by His Holy Spirit we know that ‘in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose’ (Romans 8:28), even though at times we may be going through a pruning process.
One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is joy (Galatians 5:22) and joy doesn’t depend upon our circumstances. So, if we’re going through one of those difficult and testing times, let’s rejoice, and not become despondent. Let’s look up to Jesus, and rejoice in the fact that God is at work in us in order to deal with the things that are unproductive. He can fill us with joy as we see Him making our life more fruitful for His glory.
Prayer: Father God, I thank You that You are patiently working in my life in order that I might become fruitful for You. Please help me to look beyond the difficult time and rejoice that You have something better in store for me and I will experience more of you working through me. Amen.
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