Where are the beautiful fall colors? That question runs through my mind now that I live in Houston, Texas. In the Pacific Northwest at this time of the year, the orange, red and yellow colors explode from the trees. It is a bit of a paradox for me. I love the warmer weather of Houston, but miss the changing of the seasons. I especially miss what the change of season brings.
In many parts of the world, the fall season brings cooler weather and often the end of a harvest. Farmers have gathered the last of the crops and begun some type of processing. The fruit has been picked, and the leaves are now falling to the ground.
I love the Biblical pictures of the vine. The vine produces a crop, and once picked, the next major step is to prune. The pruning process is extensive. The vines go dormant and shift into a time of rest during the winter. This stage helps the vine recover from the fruit-producing season. Then, while in dormancy, the pruning takes place in mid-winter. Sometimes as much as 70% of the plant will be cut away to help the vine produce an even greater crop the next year.
Think of the incredible applications for us in life!
- There are spiritual seasons in life:
When walking with the Lord, we will have times where great fruit is being produced. The Holy Spirit seems to grow great, relational fruit in us, and we are able to share that with many.
- We need times of dormancy:
Resting is good for our soul. Not taking the vine analogy too far, we should always be producing some kind of fruit of the spirit in our lives. Yet, we need to recognize that, like plants, we need to rest and allow God to refuel us for the next spiritual journey.
- Pruning is essential to great fruit:
John 15:1-2 says,
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
Just like a grape vine needs pruning, so do we. God will prune us; our spiritual growth depends on it. Areas of our lives need to be cut back or even removed so that God can produce an even greater crop of spiritual fruit.
Reflecting on my own life right now, I can see that God has me in a season of looking back on the fruit HE produced in my life. He is also doing some pruning that brings discomfort. In your life right now, what spiritual season are you in? Are you coming off some great spiritual gains and just needing a time of dormancy? Or does God have His pruning shears out to cut away the branches that no longer produce fruit? Wherever you are, take advantage of the spiritual season you find yourself in. My prayer is that growth takes place in each and every one.