I finished the year reading a small book which has had a huge impact on me. Secrets of the Vine by Bruce Wilkinson (author of the famous Prayer of Jabez) is a quick read with so much insight and truth. I picked this up at a thrift store for fifty cents and it was probably one of the most impactful books I’ve read all year.
Are you in a moment of discipline? God disciplines those he loves and are not producing fruit. He disciplines us not to punish, but to make us stronger. His discipline is to get us to turn from our sin, repent and move forward in his plan. When we do so, we will produce fruit.
Are you in a moment of pruning? God prunes us back as someone may prune back a grapevine. Not to hinder it’s growth or as a punishment, but to make it stronger and able to produce more fruit. Pruning can at times be painful and confusing. God prunes away the stuff that is distracting us from Him. The things that is keeping us from producing abundant fruit. I’ve been in a moment of pruning I believe as`I feel God moving me away from some causes that I felt passionate about and was doing good work through, but was keeping me from following Him completely. As painful as it was to step away from those, it is a needed improvement.
Are we in a moment of abiding? Probably one of the hardest for me to understand, but Bruce explains it pretty simply. Abiding is an action we take to do more WITH God and not necessarily more FOR God. To abide means to remain, to stay closely connected, to settle in for the long haul. To abide is a command, an action, not a suggestion. Bruce tells us how he began to abide in God when he discovered this.
- Read his Bible ever day. But not just read it but to know the person who wrote it. It’s to meditate on His word and to listen intently for Him in scripture. To hear what he is truly saying.
- Journal everyday. He keeps a spiritual journal, not just a daily diary. But a record of his personal journey with God. Your praises and your disappointments. Your prayers and his answers.
- He learned to pray and to seek God until he found Him. To find him in all aspects of your life, not just in your study time. To take God with you and to commune with Him throughout the day, not just during the allotted study time.
Whichever phase you are in, and I’m still praying about mine, one of Bruce’s points was that God is always with us, we are never discarded, or hated by Him. We are loved and everything, whether discipline or pruning is done to enable us to produce more fruit for him.
What a great message from this book and one that I plan to carry through to the new year.