“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.” — John 15:1-2
If you’ve come back here for day two, I have to assume that you have at least a sliver of sincere intention about a gravely serious topic: subjecting yourself to the shears of the Master Gardener.
I would hate for that intention to go to waste. So today, I’d like to focus on something that will bolster that sense of purpose while also providing an ‘easy win.’
I want to draw our attention to clutter.
Something is cluttered if it is both crowded and disordered. If we’re not careful, many aspects of our lives can become cluttered—not just physical spaces like countertops, but also intangible spaces like our calendars and interior spaces like our hearts.
Just as a vine can become cluttered with too many branches, it’s the same way with our countertops, our calendars, and our hearts.
Will you take a moment and ponder that metaphor?
Pause and imagine a vine, shrub, or plant whose branches are too cluttered—crowded and disordered. And then imagine that it represents some aspect of your life—tangible or intangible, visible or invisible.
As you contemplate the metaphor, be reminded of this dire truth: unless God prunes some of the clutter away, the Spirit will not have proper space to nurture your growth.
It seems especially important to address this at the beginning of these 40 days because the whole endeavor will be a waste of time if clutter, whether visible or invisible, crowds the space.
TODAY’s ACTION: Do you recognize an area of clutter, whether tangible or intangible, that God might want to prune? What action is the Holy Spirit calling you to take? Go ahead and do something about the clutter: clean up a physical space. Open up time in your calendar. Journal through something that’s cluttering your mind. … And remember: a little clutter removal will go a long way; the Holy Spirit can work with whatever you hand over.
Although some of these devotionals will emphasize an area of pruning that will surely sting, I have a feeling that this one may feel relatively painless for most people. For me personally, this one cuts deep. I can name specific areas of my life—physical spaces, the way I spend my time, the thoughts in my head—that are cluttered. They are unnecessary branches that are preventing growth. In those places, my life is not “full” or “whole” as God desires. Instead, it is cluttered and untidy. It’s my hunch that the Holy Spirit wants to do more in me and bear more fruit through me, but sometimes, there’s too much clutter in my spaces, both exterior and interior. The vine-grower has his shears out. He wants to help me create margin, if I’ll only surrender to His desires.