In this past season that has consisted mostly of working my butt off for the unknown, 2018 was marked by countless steps of faith, working to be faithfully obedient when I had no desire to, striving to thrive in moments I felt like giving up, and hoping and praying that it would all be worth it. By the end of 2018 I don’t know that I was anything but exhausted, to be completely honest.
Moving foward though, I have some hopes.
I am declaring 2019 to be a year of “more.”
More faith, trusting God in all his ways.
More faithful obedience, chasing after everything the Lord asks of me.
More passion, for the Word, for the presence of God, for wisdom and knowledge.
Not everything you encounter this year is going to be easy. You wouldn’t want that anyway, because that would mean you are remaining stagnant rather than experiencing growth and a deepening of your character. We don’t want to be shallow, so we embrace the challenge. We allow the difficulty to define our muslces, the resistance to reveal what’s being produced underneath; strength.
I always thought that verse in the bible about bearing fruit stopped at the elimination of the bad branches so that good branches could replace them…yesterday I was reading that passage without simply glossing over it and realized something…even the branches that are producing good fruit need to be trimmed back so that even more can grow…check it out:
“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 bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” – John 15:1-11 NASB
See in the beginning there, “every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.” For some strange reason, we always think that bearing fruit means that we’re good, we’re set for a while…until that branch dies off, we’re immune to the pruning. We get all bent out of shape when we face the “pruning” because we’re doing alright…but if we want to experience MORE, we need to continually be pruned and given room for even more growth.
This might be one of the reasons why Paul knew that suffering, for Christ’s sake, was something to be celebrated. He knew that suffering produced more than comfort ever could.
I know that if I want to experience “more” in 2019, there will be challenges presented along the way. I believe that may be part of the reason I experienced such difficulties throughout the past year even…it’s all making room. Every challenge is deepening my root system and clearing the way so that more can take its place.
Grace & Peace,