“When you go to church & become a Christian your life will be perfect and you won’t ever have another problem again.” Have you ever heard that? I’m sure at some point in our lives, we have all thought that. October 26th, 2018 officially marked four years that I have been faithfully coming back to church since I was a kid. I knew before getting back into it that my life was a mess, but I didn’t realize just how messy it was. I didn’t realize the effort it would take & the pain I would have to go through and, yes, it was while I was serving God. But that’s just it. In order to serve God, you have to have a pure & clean heart. I didn’t have that heart. I had a broken heart & I didn’t even realize it. I was so blinded from trying to hide my own pain & hurts that I was becoming someone I never wanted to be. I had become hardened by... life. I was used to the ways of the world...my ways. I was used to doing things however I wanted. Acting however I wanted. My way, my time. That was it. But...I had to learn that no, it’s not my way. In fact, it never is. It’s God’s way. All the time. No matter what the circumstance, no matter how much you don’t want to do it. It’s up to God.
There was a period of time, while going to church, that I felt so overwhelmed. I felt like I wasn’t ever going to be where God wanted me to be. Like my flesh was just too weak & that I would never be able to conquer it. But no matter how tough it got, I never gave up. When I thought it would be easier to give up, God reminded me that yes, my flesh is weak, but His spirit in me is stronger than that.
“The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak.” - Matthew 26:41
That’s when I pushed through no matter how much it hurt. I couldn’t go back to my old ways. I wouldn’t go back. I learned that, if you just become a willing vessel for Jesus, He’ll purify your heart & cause you to go back to things from your past that have caused hurt so that He can take them out. Not to live in that hurt, but be healed from it all! That was hard to do... because it’s the things that you never want to go back to or face again. It’s even the things that you don’t even realize that are in you that are hiding in you, just waiting to make a appearance. But He takes you there to prune you. And gosh...that hurts! The stuff I wanted to hide from, the stuff I wanted to act like never happened was right there in my way. I had come face to face with it. But He taught me something in that. In order to properly heal from it, I had to first become willing & then I had to trust Him & face it. I realized in this process that I had to do a lot of forgiving. Not just for others, but for myself. That was the biggest setback for me. I couldn’t forgive myself. But once I did & once I healed from those BIG things in my past, I felt so free. For the first time I was proud of myself! And, because of that, I have a deeper & closer relationship with God than I ever have. Through getting all of those deep, painful roots out - during the time when I was in church - I realized that it was worth it. I was so thankful for that. I prayed for God to cleanse me, but when He started to do just that I got overwhelmed. Isn’t that how we live though? We pray for something & then when it doesn’t happen the way we thought it should, we get scared. No matter what, just trust Him. Maybe you don’t even realize that there are roots deep down inside of you that you need to get rid of. But when you ask Him, He will reveal them & help you get rid of whatever it is. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It’s going to hurt. It’s going to be painful. But I promise you, it’s going to be so worth it. No matter how hard, it will be worth it to become a better you. To become all that He created you to be. Just trust Him & be willing & obedient to do whatever He wants of you & He will get you through it. Never give up! He will NEVER give up on you, so don’t give up on Him. He knows what He’s doing & He wants the best for you. He loves you! SO much! He loves you just as much on your best days as He does on your worst. Why not say, "Yes" to Him? He first said, "Yes" to us. He paid the ultimate price for us. A high price! He wants us to live in freedom in all areas of our life.
It’s time we start letting go of control & giving it to Him. It’s time we become willing to let Him pull those weeds out & plant new beautiful plants that will produce good fruit. Why not? It’s not always going to be easy. But ask yourself, "Is it worth it?" The answer is always He is worth it ALL. It’s time for you to be all that He has called you to be. For you to walk in freedom. It’s time for your “pruning process!”
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples." - John 15:1-8