Are you being pruned for a purpose? God often uses painful times of brokjenness to prune us so we can bear greater fruit in the long run...
I’ve been talking about brokenness as a way the Lord can shape us or mould us into our full potential. I’ve described brokenness as the crucible in which God heats us up and slowly purifies is, until the process is complete… when He sees His image in the molten metal.
This process of making you complete is called spiritual maturity, and for the believer, it is the result of brokenness, experiences and learning. His aim is for us to become mature and complete.
James 1:2-4 (ESV Strong's)
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect (mature NIV) and complete, lacking in nothing.
So, as we go through seasons of brokenness, as we begin to yield every aspect of our lives to Jesus, we grow and we mature in the things of God.
What does this involve?
Growth involves change, and some of us don’t like change very much. But we cannot hold onto old ways, old ideas or old concepts of God and expect to grow. It’s not saying we blindly accept every change, but we must be open to change of we are to grow.
Isaiah 43:18-19 (ESV Strong's)
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing, now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
Not all changes result in growth, but all growth is marked by change. A plant only matures when it grows beyond the seed, into the soil and into the air. If it stayed contented as a seed, it would never know the fruit of maturity. Our church is experiencing growing pains. But if we refuse to change and grow, if we don’t have faith to step out, we will stay the same and never reach our potential of fruitfulness.
We have to embrace change and also growth, because God wants us to grow to maturity…
Ephesians 4:15 (ESV Strong's)
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,
Brokenness is the 3rd essential, because as we are broken, God challenges us to yield areas of our lives to Him. You cannot grow into maturity in Him unless you yield to Him. A plant, left to its own powers will grow at all kinds of crazy angles, but being broken and yielding to Jesus is the stake that directs our growth.
Ephesians 4:14-15 (ESV Strong's)
We may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,
MOSES: BROKEN INTO GREATNESS
There is not greater example of brokenness leading to greatness than Moses. The great leader. The humblest or meekest man on the earth (Numbers 12:3), did not start off that way.
Moses was born a Hebrew, when Hebrews were despised, and baby boys were to be slaughtered. His mother placed him in a baskets, and the Pharaoh’s daughter rescued him, then called upon his own mother to raise him in the royal courts of Egypt.
The headstrong young man was Egyptianised, thinking, speaking and acting like an Egyptian. When he saw a Hebrew slave being mistreated by an Egyptian, he killed the Egyptian, and when he discovered his crime had been witnessed, he ran away to the Midian desert for 40 years.
That 40 years broke Moses, it forced him to change and grow less like an Egyptian and more like a leader God could use to save His people.
In breaking Moses, God stripped him of everything he had known as a child and young man. In the process of being driven into the desert, Moses lost his family, his palatial home, his privileges, his prominence, his prestige, his power, his pride. He lost everything.
Painful? Yes. It was a long, gut wrenching, soul sapping experience, but it broke off Moses the things that would hold back his maturity into the greatest of leaders. Then one day after so many years of humility and brokenness, God called Moses to greatness from a burning bush
Exodus 3:10 (ESV Strong's)
Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”
BROKENNESS PRUNES AWAY EVERYTHING NOT OF GOD
If God loves you, and He does, if He has a plan for your life, and He does, then He will prune you. In pruning, a savvy gardener cuts away the non productive parts of a plant, to increase its growth, its move towards maturity and ultimately, its fruit.
Brokenness is God’s pruning shears, painfully preparing the potential for production.
John 15:1-2 (ESV Strong's)
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
The other week Raymond told me, “I pruned back the chilly bush and I think I killed it.” But I showed him, already, even in his drought, little shoots are growing back. Being broken in areas of our life might feel like God is killing us, but He’s just pruning us, preparing a great harvest! He’s stripping back everything that can stop us from maximum fruitfulness!
BROKENNESS IS COUNTERCULTURAL
Brokenness runs contrary to everything our culture stands for. We are told to be independent and self confident, to set our goals and see them through no matter what.
But spiritual maturity strips all of the trimmings of Egypt away. God asks us to yield every part of our life to Him, not to hold bits back, and not to do God’s job for Him. Stand back Lord, I can take it from here! Our culture says fight, and claw and achieve, take and get and succeed, but God says give it all to Me and trust Me.
Psalms 55:22 (ESV Strong's)
Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
God’s not calling you to seek greatness, seek riches or seek success, He’s calling you to
Matthew 6:33 (ESV Strong's)
seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
So today, whatever it is that God is breaking within your life, however hard and painful this pruning, you need to yield it to Him and believe that the Master gardener knows what He’s doing!
Why are we pruned? Let me finish with 5 reasons why God is pruning you and the results of pruning you can expect in your life…
1. PRUNED FOR PURPOSE
God has a purpose for your life. People are born, grow up, go to work, have a family and one day die. They make plans, try to live a comfortable life, care for a few others. But you’re better than that! God has a higher calling for you! You’re not an accident, you’re not a failure and you’re not just another consumer, so stop acting like that! He says,
Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV Strong's)
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
He prunes you because He has plans and purposes for your life…
2. PRUNED FOR PRIESTHOOD
You at being pruned to become someone great in the Kingdom of God. As you yield areas of your life to the pruners blade, so your potential for supernatural ministry will explode. We all have the potential to serve in supernatural ministry, God can and will use each of us to touch lives supernaturally.
You might think, you’re a pastor, it’s easy to see God using you. But I’m just a guy, flesh and blood just like you, sinful, selfish, strong willed and in need of pruning.
I’ve tried to be faithful with what God has asked me to do. I’ve been pruned, often painfully. I’ve experienced brokenness, and have had to learn and grow. But so have you, each of us are on that same path somewhere, some further along than others. None of us perfect, all of us broken and all of us learning to yield to Jesus. There’s no priesthood and laity here, just servants and more humble servants…
1 Peter 2:5 (ESV Strong's)
you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
3. PRUNED FOR POWER
So many Christians I meet are half hearted in their commitment. They love Jesus, but they also love other things in their life equally or more. The evidence is best seen in the time they devote to the things of God, and the priority they place on serving Him.
James 4:8 (ESV Strong's)
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
If you want to be a powerful Christian, if you want to look back on your death bed and know you have been an incredible servant for God, someone who made a difference, who impacted lives, saw people saved and grown to maturity, saw miracles and incredible provision, start by being whole hearted for Jesus. Let Him prune you for power!
Acts 1:8 (ESV Strong's)
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Problem is most people do not let the Spirit come on them in power. Even those of you who have the gift of tongues, most of us do not let the Spirit truly come upon us. The Holy Spirit is ready and willing to come up in us in power… the problem is not Him… it is us!
2 Chronicles 16:9 (NIV-WS)
For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.
Trouble is, we are simply not fully committed to Him, but we are selfish and self serving. But God is looking throughout the earth, throughout this room, for hearts that are fully committed to Him. Are you that person, or are you holding back on God?
4. PRUNED FOR PEOPLE
Ever wonder why we don’t just give be our heart to Jesus then get whisked off to heaven? I mean, why should be be broken, and pruned and moulded into maturity? It’s because God has a purpose beyond just saving you! So it’s not all about you!
God’s purpose for saving you and leaving you here, breaking you and pruning you and bringing you to a place of wholeness and spiritual maturity is this… So that He might use you as His tool in bringing others to wholeness and spiritual maturity.
Matthew 5:16 (ESV Strong's)
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
People are watching you, yes even in your times of pruning.
When you face brokenness, and you do this with genuine faith, still loving those around you, still giving ‘til it hurts, still focussing on the needs of others, then they see you, how you behave and see Jesus shining in you.
5. PRUNED FOR PRODUCTION
Ultimately, we are pruned not to hurt us but to make a way for more fruit production.
John 15:5 (ESV Strong's)
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
He teaches us so that we might teach others. He gives wisdom that we might share it. He comforts and encourages us so that we might provide comfort and encouragement to others. He gives us spiritual gifts so that we might use them to help others. He gives us financial prosperity so that we might bless others.
Some people, some of you here, are content to just fall over the line and make it to heaven. It’s like bargaining with God. God, what’s the lowest price I can get to heaven for. What’s the minimum outlay I need to pay to just make it? No wonder God prune this despicable, selfish attitude out of us! My aim in life is to make it to heaven, and take as many people as I can with me! What’s yours?
You are pruned to bear much fruit, not just to squeak into heaven, so I urge you to not waste your one life satisfying your own desires, but step up and do something great for Jesus!
2 Corinthians 5:10 (ESV Strong's)
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
The judgement seat of Christ is for Christians, that’s for you and I! We must all give account, and I for one want to give an account that causes Jesus to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” God prunes us to bear much fruit, and at Ignite I want to give you the opportunity to step up and become part of the miracles that God is doing right here.
Are you ministering for Him at your full potential? Is there more? Ask yourself that now… has He been pruning me so that I can step up and bear more fruit? If so, how can I do this?
I am now placing this church at your disposal, to provide the vehicle for you to serve Jesus to your full potential.