Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pruned by the hand of God

Those whom Jesus loves he prunes. I (mikael) have felt increasingly closer to Jesus these last few weeks than I have in a long while. I have been seeking Jesus and thinking through what it means for me to be a worshiper of Him. See, we are all, every one of us, worshipers - we were born worshiping. The only question is what or whom do we worship. For what or whom do we give glory + dedication + sacrifice?

As a Christian I obviously confess to worship Jesus, and I confess that without hesitation. If you are a Christian you would most likely say the same. But, is this true of us? Do we really worship Jesus - the creator God - and him alone and above all at all times? I have come to see that my default tendency is to worship idols rather than Jesus. As I look deeply and honestly into my own heart I know that all too often I am actually worshiping created things (myself, my wife + family, security, comfort, etc.) rather than Creator God. This is SIN. This is IDOLATRY. So, these past few weeks, especially days, I have been repenting of my idolatry, putting away my idols, and restoring Jesus to his rightful place in my life and worship. I have felt refreshed + energized and excited about opportunities to further the Gospel.

The other day I was listening to a message by Matt Chandler, and he was reminding  us that when God loves someone he prunes them. He said that when trials or pruning happens in our lives it is not necessarily happening because of sin, even though most of us operate in that paradigm - myself included. God does not give or take away his grace + blessings because of any merit or acts on our part. He gives and blesses because he loves and he chooses to do so. In fact, if we are loved by God and we are seeking him we should expect to be tried + pruned. If you had a beautiful rose plant and you wanted it to be as healthy and as beautiful as possible you would prune it - prune it so that it may become even more beautiful and thriving.

The same is true in our relationship with God. Because of his great love for me he prunes, and we all know that the pruning process is painful. Without Jesus stripping away our idols - without him declaring himself as our sole need for life + joy - we are left to die in our idolatry. It is the grace of Jesus that cuts those things out of our hands. It is his grace that reminds us of our desperate dependence on him and him alone.

So, I was listening to this sermon thinking, yeah...right on...this is truth..., not even wondering why it is I happened to be listening to this message at this moment in time. But, this morning I figured out why I was being reminded of these things. This morning it all made sense. Today my wife and I have been confronted with our idols. Our idols are not the same, but they are idols none the less. I was reminded today that I serve a jealous God that is not willing to uphold the idols I set up in his place. I am thankful for this. By God's grace I am more than pleased to see these idols burn and for Jesus to take his rightful place as the object of my worship. This is not to say that this pruning is over or that the pain has passed or will not rear its ugly head. But, I choose to worship Jesus and in him I will find my joy + rest.


2 comments:

  1. Mike - good thoughts.

    I was thinking about the pruning paradigm and thinking that part of it's weakness is that it assumes that pruning is punishment for sin.

    It is a fine line between pain and hardship being on account of sin (in general) and being punishment so that we turn from sin.

    God prunes us because we have sin, but not because He is punishing that sin. The difference is seen in how we react to pruning. We either submit to it knowing it is for our good, or we search for the sin God is punishing us for so that we can repent and be restored to a state of no suffering.

    Anyway, those are some thoughts I had reading your post and thought I'd share them with you.

    Danny

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  2. Danny...

    Well said. Thank you.

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