Overcoming Leads to Becoming

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. – (Romans 5:3-5)

 

There is a process of overcoming prior to our becoming all that God intends for us to be. Just as plants need pruning to remove the weight of what is dead to grow to their full height and fruitfulness, so too, do we. Part of our pruning process often involves trials that require perseverance. As we press on and into God, He refines and roots our character firmly in Him. Through the growth process, hope rises, and we become certain of in Whom our hope lies, because God is faithful throughout the process, and His Holy Spirit remains present in us, no matter what comes our way. May we rejoice in the process of overcoming, knowing that through it, we are becoming, all that God intends for us to be. Let hope rise, for His love has been placed in our hearts by the Holy Spirit Himself.

 

Praise through the pruning,Purposeful Prayer

for when it is done;

remaining is stronger,

so battles are won.

As we persevere,

character refined;

hope is given rise,

God’s glory defined.

He pours out His love,

into seeking hearts;

Holy Spirit’s home,

wherever we are.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though not one of us enjoys suffering, we can rejoice in how You use our trials to produce perseverance, character and hope within us. Thank You that though we may not see the purpose in the tragedies and trials that we face, we can trust that You will use all things for the good of those who love You. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears when we are in the midst of trials, and help us to trust You enough to cling to You, knowing that You will lead us through the overcoming so that we may become more of who You have created us to be. Lead us to love others with the love that You have freely given unto us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we persevere in the overcoming, and trust You in our becoming, more of who You have created us to be. Let hope rise, as we are acutely aware of the love poured into our hearts by Your Spirit as we go. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

The Purpose of Pruning

Last evening, as the temperature dipped down to a comfortable level, I decided to brave the overgrown brambles and branches that remained hidden on the side of our house.  Though this area can be clearly seen from out our kitchen window, I have long neglected the needed look to actually see the damage being done by the unattended, overgrown ivy.  As I ventured in with shears in hand, I began cutting away every branch that was choked out by the countless vines that had coiled around and killed the once fruitful branches.

My shears ceaselessly snipped away every vine and dead branch that I could reach.  In addition to the vines, there were also prickly blackberry branches that had found root amidst the once beautiful bushes and boughs.

image by Vidrio/Flickr.com

This morning, as I read John 15, which speaks of the Vine and the branches, the tangible illustration of last evenings imagery, quickly came to mind.  “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.” – John 15:4

The branches that survived the all-out assault of the advancing ivy, were those closest to the base, which is the main highway for needed nutrients.

In the midst of my cutting away of all that was entangling the once elegant branches, I imagined that this view was quite similar to what our Savior sees in the hearts of His kids.  Upon the initial encounter, much sin must be snipped away.  Fortunately, it is not in our own strength that this occurs, rather it is by the Master Gardener, who is able to breathe life back into even the driest of branches, if they are willing and ready to receive.

As we are able to allow exposure of all of ourselves to our Almighty, He tenderly begins to take away the branches that bear no fruit.  Like my now naked trees and shrubs that have had all that entangled cut away, lush life may again burst forth.  Fruit and flower will again grow in season.  Regular pruning will prevent the stuff that strangles from again taking over.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Vine and we are the branches.  Help us to remain in You, so that we are able to allow You to cut away all that chokes and everything that entangles.  May we be willing to allow Your constant care and cutting away to cover us, so that we may bear good fruit that nourishes those in need.  Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present