I read in a time management book recently that clutter in one’s home or work environment causes stress. I figure that is because clutter represents a pile of unfinished tasks.
This, I muse, makes a great deal of sense. My own current ‘clutter’ issue is not indoors but just outside. My garden glares at me accusingly every time I walk in and out of our front door. It is a mass of unpruned roses and the last brave flowers—the ones that were giving me the excuse of neglect—have been lost to the winds.
This is somewhat ironic because I have just been in the process of writing a chapter about pruning.
According to the Bible, God is in the business of cultivating our lives, and every now and then He gets out the shears (John 15:1-3).
This unpleasant process is all for good, of course, because the end result of pruning is greater fruitfulness.
“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
Prophetic people go through testing times, and whether these relate to the barrenness of a winter season or the process of pruning, there IS some good news to be had. Here are some examples from the Bible:
The Testing Season: What is God Doing?
1. Developing Skills you will need in the Future
Joseph knew that his destiny was one of rulership, but it seemed that his life was taking the opposite course. Sold into slavery and unjustly imprisoned, he developed skills that would be invaluable to his future. During the season of trial, God may be working gifts and skills into your life that you need to fulfil His destiny in the long run.
2. Refining Character
Integrity is of vital importance so that the ministry and God’s Name is not discredited. This is especially true when operating in spiritual gifts such as prophecy.
Other character traits that God looks for in His people are humility and the ability to persevere. After a 40-year sojourn in the wilderness, Moses was a man of great humility. God had refined his character in the desert.
During a wilderness time, God may actually be repositioning us for a new season of fruitfulness.
Elijah sat under a tree in the desert and actually prayed that he would die. The Lord visited Him and gave him directions for a new season of his ministry. He was to call Elisha as his successor and anoint a new king who would bring Jezebel’s reign to an end (1 Kings 19).
Elijah had an appointment with God in the wilderness and so do we. During the times of difficulty or separation, allow Him to speak to you about the next season He has for your life.
4. Calling us to Intimacy with God
Testing times are seasons when we have the opportunity to get closer to God than any other time. Perhaps there are fewer distractions. Perhaps need or barrenness causes us to draw nearer to Him.
5. Awaiting the Right Timing
While we feel as though we are fighting to survive, God is moving to change the scenery on the stage of our lives—positioning circumstances, others and us for what is to come. David went on the run from Saul in the wilderness. He was destined to become a king, but he became an outlaw first. He stayed in the desert while God worked things out on his behalf. Saul died and eventually the people called for David to be their new king.
6. Strengthening our Faith
Abraham is known as the ‘father of faith.’ It was twenty-five barren years before Isaac was born in fulfilment of God’s promise to make him a great nation; God waited until it was physically impossible. Paul later said of Abraham in Romans 4:19-20:
“Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God.”
7. Pruning for Greater Fruitfulness
Pruning seasons occur when the best that we have produced is stripped away from us and every natural means of being fruitful seems to have been removed, leaving us barren (John 15:2). God is allowing fruitful areas of our lives and ministries to be cut back, in order that we can focus in a significant way.
Now, I’d better do something about that garden… tomorrow.
The information in this post is excerpted from the e-book, ‘Grow Your Prophetic and Prayer Gifts.’ If this post has ministered to you and you would like further help in the development of your prophetic gifts, click here to review the book.
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See also Prophetic People in Testing Times
© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching