As we continue to look at the book of Deuteronomy and experience the journey the heart takes- where will you find YOURSELF?
Deuteronomy 30:4-6- “Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the LORD your God will gather you and bring you back. 5 He will bring you to the land that belonged to your fathers, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. 6 The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.”
Circumcision- it was handed down to Abraham and his descendants as “a token of the covenant” made by God. Here, God expands that idea as He talks about circumcising the heart- trimming it to make it healthier, more receptive.
My mom was the original organic gardener. I learned more things about gardening from her than any other human! Here are some trimming tips she shared with me.
1. Before cutting- assess the shape of what you are about to cut. Always make cuts with the overall picture in mind, and never cut unnecessarily.
2. Always keep your tools clean and your blades sharp so you don’t produce a ragged cut that is slow to heal.
3. Use the right tools- shears to cut small branches and a saw for larger branches.
4. Remove all that is dead, damaged or diseased- it promotes healthy growth.
5. The harder a shoot is trimmed, the more vigorous it will grow.
6. Place the trimming blade right next to the branch to get as flush a cut as possible.
7. Pruning paint is not recommended; a well-placed cut will heal perfectly on its own.
This list of tips for trimming translates well to God trimming our lives:
1. Before cutting- assess the shape of what you are about to cut.
Always make cuts with the overall picture in mind, and never cut
unnecessarily. God never trims unnecessarily- instead He assesses our situation and keeps the overall picture in mind.
2. Always keep your tools clean and your blades sharp so you don’t produce a ragged cut that is slow to heal. God’s Word is clean and sharp, and when He trims, He does it cleanly, swiftly, and with complete healing.
3. Use the right tools- shears to cut small branches and a saw for larger branches. God knows the right thing to use at the proper time for our betterment.
4. Remove all that is dead, damaged or diseased- it promotes healthy growth. God wishes to excise all that is diseased or dead, to help bring about spiritual health.
5. The harder a shoot is trimmed, the more vigorous it will grow. The more we are trimmed by God, the stronger we will come back.
6. Place the trimming blade right next to the branch to get as flush a cut as possible. When God trims us, He will be as close to us as possible, offering us His support and comfort.
7. Pruning paint is not recommended; a well-placed cut will heal perfectly on its own. We don’t need anything but God, and any trimming God does will heal perfectly on its own.
There are 5 truths about trimming:
1. God is the trimmer. Be encouraged- He is not merely some stranger with no interest in you. He is your Heavenly Father, and you can trust Him.
2. God has a purpose for your life. When a man goes through the vineyard with his trimming knife, he doesn’t indiscriminately cut without regard. Instead, he has a purpose- to produce the best fruit possible. When God looks at our lives, He has certain expectations- He expects to see love, joy, peace, patience and kindness. Do you have love, joy, peace, patience and kindness? If not, what prevents you from those things? God wants to make us more like Jesus Christ. He wants to remove the things that don’t help us fulfill our purpose.
3. God’s trimming knife is sharp. It must be extremely sharp if His trimming is to be effective. A dull knife might cut, but it will also damage the wood. The most effective knife is as sharp as possible. What does God use as a knife? Our circumstances, our relationships, our trials, and His Word.
4. God only removes what is unnecessary. The dead wood must be removed. It harbors insects and disease, and it can spread to the entire vine. God moves among us with His trimming knife, removing the dead things from our hearts- bitterness, resentment, selfishness, anger, self-centeredness, arrogance, pride- anything that doesn’t look like Jesus Christ.
5. It is essential we stay connected to the Trimmer. The single most important thing we can do is to maintain our connection to God.
If we are pruned of denial and resentment, then we accept our situation, and our ceases to be a problem. We become more authentic and compassionate. So why does God sometimes do some serious pruning in our life? People think it’s because God is mad at them, has forsaken them, or forgotten them. But when trimming happens, God is trying to get our attention. But trimming is painful and so we’re quick to cry out, “Why does it have to hurt so much?” And what is God’s response? “My grace is sufficient. My power is perfected in your weakness.”
Ultimately, trimming is God’s hand, preparing us for service. God cuts away the unusable to make us more…usable! His loving hand strips away the dead wood to reveal the healthy fruit of the Spirit. We must be trimmed before we can bloom, so thank God for pruning certain habits, thoughts and dependencies. It enables you to be more fruitful. But the trimming process doesn’t last just one day, or one week, or even one year- it lasts a lifetime, it’s ongoing. in what areas of your life is God’s trimming knife active right now?
Is it resentment? Or bitterness? Or anger? Just remember what the passage from Deuteronomy above said, that no matter where you are, you are never too far away- God will come for you, find you, restore you!
Thanks for coming by today. Have a blessed day, make sure and come back tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!