This past season and current season of Covid-19 has seen our lives drastically change. Some things that we thought were so fixed in our lives suddenly became vulnerable to the scenarios that the world is facing. Much to our surprise we actually are realising that we don’t have the control that we thought we once had.
In this time I have had the opportunity to do some live chats with a good friend of mine who is an emerging leadership coach under the name Shaping your success. We have talked over and around the lessons that we are both learning as a result of the current world climate associated with Covid-19 and its consequences to our ways of life.
Some of the questions that came up were “how are we going to change as a result of Covid-19? How are we going to respond when things appear to go back to normal?”
Pruning is the way to flourish
In this conversation I responded in a way that was about the topic of pruning, yes that is right the gardening practice where we hack away at fruitful branches and often leave them looking at a stump with a few green shoots.
It is interesting that as I wrote this article a few weeks back I strongly felt God was not only prompting me to explore pruning in my quiet time with him, but also to actually take to the task of pruning the roses out the front of my house.
Let me preface that I am no gardener so my time in the early hours of the morning with God was to ask the question of why do we prune. Interestingly I found that this definition on the internet and its read as follows
Pruning: Removes dead and dying branches and stubs, allowing room for new growth and protecting your property and passersby from inflicting damage. It also deters pests and animal infestation and promotes the plant's natural shape and healthy growth.
There are so many lessons for life that comes from this simple practice of pruning that we can apply to our lives. As I engaged in this practice that afternoon I discovered that there were so many life lessons that came forth.
Naturally as you engage in such an activity as pruning God would bring to mind the great passage in John 15:1-17 and particularly the first 8 verses. In this block of scripture we read that the sole purpose of pruning is to become more fruitful by remaining connected to the vine. In this fruitfulness the gardener God decides that we will be even more fruitful if we cut off branches that seem to be pretty good at producing fruit or flowers. After is all he is God.
It was in this moment that God spoke to me and clearly said “but you don’t know the new fruit, the new roses that will come forth in the new season.”
Isn’t this true of our lives we are always thinking backwards. We are always thinking, but the roses of our lives were pretty good last season, why do I need to change what made them happen last time?
Why can’t we let go and let God?
When we do this we rob ourselves because of an inability to let go of control in our lives. We seem to not be able to put our lives into the Gardeners hands. As a result we end up stifling the new that the gardener (God) wants to bring through into your life. After all he is the gardener and he is the one that lovingly planted you before the beginning of time and you were the plant that was in his mind from inception of time (Psalm 139).
It’s very interesting as you look into the original language of the word pruning in Greek it's the word Katharos and this word means to cleanse. So as we are pruned we are being cleansed. This was really prevalent for me as I pruned the roses because what I discovered was a disease that needed to be cleansed or pruned away for the rose to not only thrive, but also to survive.
When we are cleansed it's only then we can live into our fullest potential. This full cleansing that we need in our soul, body and mind is the cleansing that Christ blood poured out over us in the cross of cavalry that enables us to truly be cleansed from all disease and infestations in our lives.
Remain in me or apart from me you can do nothing
There is one verse that really sticks out to me everytime I read John Chapter 15 and its reads as follows
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing (verse 5).
This is both a beautiful promise and stern warning and if we are to really take hold of God word in this verse we will truly flourish and bring forth not the fruit of seasons past, but the fruit that is for the new season.
What it means to remain in the vine is to remain intimately in union with God and give your lives over to him in a place of vulnerability, weakness and humility. This is the place where you let go and let God. It's the place where the so-called control you think you have, you give it to the one that really is in control.
The alternative is the part where “it says you can do nothing” and while we think we may be doing something in our own striving and effort in God’s eyes we are actually doing nothing.
So as we navigate the other side of the Covid-19 season let us not try to attach those old branches that were cut off of our lives in this past season. Let us look forward and live by faith and not by sight and walk into the potential of the new fruit that is for the new season.
I will finish with this vision that I had at the end of my time with the Father talking to him about and learning about pruning. He showed me a very bright scene and as I looked past the light I saw the same stem I saw at the beginning of my time with God which was lifeless and dead was now shining as bright as the sun.
He showed me through the stems, which now were transparent to my eyes and revealed to me the seeds of life and energy that were pulsing their way to a point where they would become the new shoots and the new branches. This was the new life that would produce the fruit that God dreamed of and had cultivated this stem to produce.
This is the potential that lies in each of us when we give our lives into the hands of the gardener.
Click this link https://youtu.be/2am_8n63JP8 to look at the video I created as I pruned my roses and God spoke to me about this awesome and life giving lesson of pruning and more that I didn’t expand on in the article.
https://www.facebook.com/Jrfaithcreations/photos/a.1419544571414976/2111202502249176 this link for my painting ‘leaf of healing’ which shows the life seeds in our branches
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Justin Monaghan (Adelaide) is married to his beautiful wife and together they pursue being his Kingdom agents through their intentional Jesus community house in Glenelg. Justin is also a prophetic artist under the label JR Faith Creations as well is pursuing a career in the entertainment industry with his new studies in VFX and digital illustration at university. He is a lover of surfing and anything adventurous.