If it isn’t producing Life it needs to be pruned, and pruning hurts! God prunes us as we incline our hearts toward Him, but HOW does He prune us?
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
God is the great Vinedresser and His Word is used to help prune us and shape us into His image.
His Word is sharp, cutting clean and deep when we incline our heart to it. It is a discerner of our thoughts and intentions, separating light from darkness, exposing things in us that need change. The Word challenges what we think and believe as it exposes us to God’s will for our lives.
The carnal man’s response is to run from the Vine Dresser and try to heal himself from the cutting…. Because pruning hurts! The New Man’s response is to run to the Father and hide under His wings. We can’t consummate our marriage to Christ while our “old man” is still alive.
In Exodus 33:20 God said to Moses, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.”
Our carnal, fallen nature (“old man”) cannot look into the face of God and live.
Spending time with our Father and His Word is our Old Man’s face to face encounter with Him. It is the surest way for dead things to get pruned out of our life.
If we are constantly in His Word and don’t practice intimacy, we will try to DO the Word in our own strength instead of becoming the Word by His grace.
Embracing intimacy will always lead to a healthy dose of the Word, and develop a Father consciousness. The more we see Him as a Father, the more we see ourselves as sons. When we have intimacy, coupled with the Word, our perspective changes about everything and everyone, including ourselves. Our identity is formed in intimacy. Without intimacy we will never bear the fruit of who He is.
Our perspective of the Word will change as we pursue intimacy with God. We will find ourselves “reading” the Word less but digesting it more. The Word will become so alive it will be as if one phrase is speaking volumes and we will naturally, purposely slow down to thoroughly digest it, letting it cut us deep and clean, knowing that His embrace causes it to be less painful. The cutting is for our good, the pruning is needed for growth and health.
Long-term exposure to only the Word without an intimate relationship will produce self-consciousness and self-righteousness. Exposure to only the Word cuts us and cuts us and cuts us, with no relief in sight. The cutting exposes darkness, weakness, and sin. Intimacy is one way God becomes strong in our weakness.
Cutting off those things in our life that aren’t producing good fruit is HIS responsibility in this relationship, not ours. He is the Vinedresser, we are the vine. Vines NEVER prune themselves. He is the great potter and we are the clay. Clay NEVER shaped itself into anything, but that is exactly what we will gravitate to if we have only God’s Word in our life with little or no intimacy.
Knowledge of the Father without intimacy will puff us up and make us think we know what to do and try to please Him with our own human efforts to “do better.” Without intimacy we become legalistic, frustrated, and sin conscious.
Sin consciousness is the fruit of being exposed to the Word of God and not pursuing intimacy with God. Sin consciousness is easy to identify. If we are constantly seeing sin in others and judging them, thinking about what they need to change, what they should do, and how they should behave, this indicates knowledge of God’s Word but ignorance of who we are. We must not try to do what we learn without learning who He is. Our identity is formed in intimacy. Without intimacy we will gravitate toward Old Testament law and never fully understand or embrace New Testament grace.
We are in the last days and we we all need to aspire to become everything Jesus paid for. We must embrace the pruning and the correction of the Lord in this season.
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