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. – John 15:2
I am a Southerner. I wear shorts 10 months out of the year. I love college football. Ole Miss and Oxford, MS are just short of heaven. The only really good writers and musicians are from the South. Do I really need to make a list? When my wife and I lived in the Northeast US for a period of time, people would ask me to repeat things like “orange juice” and “y’all,” which I would happily do because I knew they were thinking “dumb redneck.” We Southerners like being underestimated.
As a true Southerner, we like our yards, flower beds, plants, and especially our trees. Walk through the piney woods of Mississippi and tell me you don’t see God. My wife and I are especially fond of crepe myrtle trees. We both think they epitomize beauty and hospitality. Crepe myrtles are the subject of a very contentious debate among we Southerners (we like feuds). The debate hinges on whether you should prune them or not. Pruning “deniers” call this crepe myrtylcide. I happen to agree with the authority on all things Southern, Southern Living Magazine, which states:
“Late winter (right now) is the best time to prune a crepe myrtle, because it’s leafless and you can easily see all of the branches. It also blooms on new growth, so pruning now won’t reduce blooming. In fact, it may increase it.”
To produce new growth, to bear new fruit, to bloom – I have to subject my life to God’s pruning. Throughout my years of separation from Him, I found only He could restore me to sanity. Living in recovery means opening my life daily to His pruning…and His restoration. Drawing close to Him by recognizing God as the only one who can restore me means openness to His authority.
What insanity is running unchecked in your life? Have you realized you are powerless to control it? Does it control you? Have you tried to stop over and over again only to slide right back into what you swore you would never do again. Don’t let that shame rule your psyche. Admit you are powerless, your life has become unmanageable. Then take the second step. Realize only God can restore you to sanity by pruning the unmanageable from you. His intervention is often painful but always necessary…so that you will bear more fruit.
Keith B. – NotUnknown.com