Reaching Your Full Potential
By Susan Norris
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
Scripture reading: John 15:1-11
I live in Marietta, Georgia, where the crepe myrtles grow on just about every corner. Every spring, you will see people cutting them back, in some cases, where only twigs remain. Yet, in early spring, the growth and color are amazing.
My dad is notorious for doing the same thing to the scrubs in my parent’s front yard. Whenever my mother asks him to trim the scrubs, he practically mows them down to the stump. While they look scrawny and awful for a year, they eventually thrive and look SO healthy. He uses that as justification for his trimming style.
In life, we experience sorrow and pain from time to time. Sometimes it may feel like just a pruning and other times we feel like we’ve been clipped at the knees. Yet, without the suffering, we will never experience the growth in the right direction nor reach our fullest potential. The Father knows what we need. He is the ultimate gardener (John 15:1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener”). He will only cut back in areas that need it, where He sees a problem or hindrance to growth. It may feel like He is finished with you or like He is destroying you, just like my Father and his shrubs, but the end result will be the same. The growth that you will experience will be full of blessing.
Often the Lord has to prune out things that are a result of our own poor choices. In 2 Samuel 11 & 12 – King David’s lust, adultery and murder were dealt with). And sometimes, He prunes things out that are part of our sinful nature, like pride (Genesis 37- Joseph was taught to be a humble servant instead of a prideful brother). We have to keep in mind that occasionally the results from the pruning process are rather quickly realized, as with the crepe myrtle trees and other times it takes time…lots of time, like with the shrubs.
While the pruning process is necessary, it is painful. We are experiencing forced change. But it is out of love that the Lord prunes us, because He wants us to reach our full growth potential. He knows the blessings that await us on the other side of the pruning. So, press in, dear one, and when you are going through a pruning season, don’t focus on the pain of the experience, focus on the Gardener.
Thought for the day: There is blessing that comes from suffering.
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A powerful voice for hope, international speaker Susan Norris helps teens and women find freedom from strongholds in the areas of purity and spiritual identity. In her debut novel, Rescuing Hope, she frames the realities of sex trafficking in America. This woman of boldness, known to many as Miss Susan, spent countless hours with survivors, their families, detectives and a former pimp, emerging a voice for victims and a catalyst for action among her peers. To learn more about Susan, visit her website at www.susannorris.org. Follow her on Twitter @SusanCNorris or Facebook: Susan Norris Author.
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