Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Prunes, Dates, and Humiliated Grapes

[Raisins] used to be fat and juicy and now they're twisted. They had their lives stolen. Well, they taste sweet, but really they're just humiliated grapes.
- Benny and Joon

I think the only dried fruit I actually like are dried cranberries, and that's just if I put them into my cranberry-walnut muffins (to make the name legit). But this is not going to be about shame, or dating, or the credibility of muffins. And not so much of prunes either...

This is about pruning.
[my irrelevant titles/tangents/excursions do eventually merge.]

There's an incredible move of God happening in THIS generation, that I WILL see with my eyes. And I have felt the growth in myself, and seen repercussions in the people around me - people getting healed in church, friends suddenly diving into a relentless crave for God, dreams unfolding, signs that make you wonder... It's all real.

The beauty of the New Covenant is that we live with the executable power that came from the resurrection. But that's just it - to resurrect means you'll have to die first.

I once heard Bill Johnson say this:
The reward for growth is to be pruned, because that allows for more fruit in the next season.
It's one of those glorifying-crucifying statements that I love and hate (but genuinely love), where we dreamers and optimists revel in clinging to the hope of "fruit," but practicality yanks us back into the realization of Jesus' uncompromising command to pick up your cross and die daily (Luke 9.23). I'll be honest - there are times that the "dying" part makes me groan. "Uh, Dad, I kinda don't want to die today. I've been really drained and I would prefer a nap over bloody sweat." (Because seriously, I do feel drained, and I could use a nap.)

For shame.

I can hear God tell me, "Endure it, woman." (sigh.) And He's right. After all, in order for a plant to be healthy, it needs to be pruned. Why waste nutrients on injured, infested, or dying areas of my life? Why feed the parts of me that don't glorify God, or bless others, or encourage my spirit? To prune is to encourage fruit development. In the end, it's more worth it to see the abundance of the Fruit of the Spirit (and fruit of your prayers, whatever "fruit" means for you), than to live with mediocre fruit, and a whole lot of dead stuff.

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

It's to be expected, that because we live in such an exciting time in history, the junk must be made known - and chopped off. The intensity of Light sheds reality on all the dark things going on in our insides. The influx of His beauty calls for a purge of our ugliness. The increase of glory evokes an increase of attacks - everything worth fighting for will be fought over.

I say all these things as encouragement to myself and others, that the humiliation of being stripped of our beauty [uh.. raisins?], of our lives being flogged as a spectacle, of suffering, of a broken heart, of pain, of death - it is all a part of process to find the glory and power of the resurrection.

I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
-Philippians 3.10-11

That's all...
OK let's go die!


Listening: "To Be Alone with You," on Seven Swans, Sufjan Stevens.
Reading: The Pentateuch

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