A few months ago I sat with a bunch of women at Bible study thinking about what God was telling me. Those months in the fall taught me so much about God and the way He works.
You know what God asked me to do? He asked me to read the Bible twice a day, not just once. Which, NBD, right? Except I couldn’t do it. I was convinced I couldn’t because I had a hard enough time reading it once.
Regardless, I shared this with a few people. I didn’t want it to seem like a pompous thing to do, something to just show I’m “holier than thou” or that I have “it” all together. I just knew what God had said. And I knew I wasn’t following through.
Obedience, for me, has always seemed like an easy thing. I obey rules really well. I obeyed my parents as a kid. And for the most part, I was obedient when it came to God. I wasn’t breaking any major ten commandments, at least. But can I be real? A huge part of me recoiled at the thought of being obedient to anyone but myself.
I am an adult, after all.
A lot of us have heard the story about how God prunes in order to produce more fruit. We consider pruning a holy thing. However holy and biblical it is, it hurts. Like hell. I imagine it being like ripping bark off the side of the tree. Of course, we don’t think it really hurts the tree because the tree doesn’t recoil from us. But the thought of doing that to my soul, ripping something from it that has been attached there for some time, hurts.
So He prunes, sometimes when we don’t want Him to. But it’s necessary. Otherwise, we’re left without the fruit He longs for our lives to produce.
Looking back at obedience, I quickly realized that I was not being obedient to God day to day. I was sidling by, enjoying my life, ignoring the pressing of the Spirit and the pruning He wanted to do. That was easier.
The first time I knew I was supposed to begin this new reading regimen was six months ago. I put it off. I neglected the Bible altogether. My disobedience grew larger in scale, all because I was simply afraid I wasn’t capable.
When we let God prune, when we let Him tenderly pull away the parts that don’t help us, things happen. Life changes. And we change.
I let Him prune.
Now, I know that God calls us all differently. For me, it was the simple task of reading twice a day. Not with a notebook in hand. Not with an agenda. Not even with the task of analyzing and solidifying my theology. Simply to be closer to Him. To connect with Him at the beginning and end of every day.
Can I tell you what changed?
I wake up and read. I get out of bed, and I don’t spend so much time being frustrated with my kids. I listen to them. I say “thank you” more often and mean it. I think about what I’m reading, not forget it. I read it before I go to sleep and skip over skimming Instagram. And I sleep better than I have in a few months.
He becomes part of my every waking thought. And peace floods in when I close my eyes every night.
When I noted how He was changing me, I laughed. I said to Him, “What took ME so long? Lord, You are good. Almighty, You are God. Jesus, thank You for bringing me closer while you prune.”
Sometimes we forget that God continues to change us, mold us, prune us, even after we’ve been saved. We forget there is still work to be done in us, too. Not just the world around.