Sometimes we need to trim something dead from our life in order to grow and thrive.
The other day my daughter Caroline and I went to get our hair cut. My hair was a frazzled mess of split ends, and we could barely get a comb through hers without a lot of screeches, “ow’s!” + tears… It was time for a trim.
Caroline has this long, beautiful, red hair that has only been cut a handful of times in her 7 years of life. She has asked us to cut it short several times before, but we have said “no, not until you’re older” pretty much every time without thinking twice. (Why is cutting our children’s hair so emotional for us parents??)
So, this day we went in to get our cuts and they took Caroline back first, then me, with another stylist. I could see Caroline a few chairs over, but over the course of the haircut and chatting with my stylist, I stopped watching to see how Caroline’s trim was going…until she was done and came over to see me. Well…. that “trim” that she was supposed to get somehow turned into about 5 inches….and my baby girl with the long locks of gorgeous red hair now had a much shorter cut and looked about 2 years older.
I wasn’t ready, y’all.
But the smile beaming on her freckled cheeks told me that she was delighted with this new ‘do, despite any of my own reservations about it. So, I beamed right back and told her how beautiful she looked.
As the day continued, I noticed a little more pep in her step and as she bounced around the house. Her freshly snipped locks bounced with her, and she seemed lighter, freer, more her true self…not a little girl weighed down by a thick, hot, burdensome weight of unnecessary hair on her head. She even played soccer better! She was more alive. She had needed that haircut.
Can you relate to Caroline?
Sometimes there are areas of our lives that need a good cut, maybe even a whole new makeover, when a little trim just will not do.
That toxic friendship that thrives on gossip and wine O’ clock? That romantic relationship not rooted in the Lord. That job God told you not to take, but those benefits were too good to turn down and now you have no peace, time for your family, or time for the ministry He called you to. How about that business venture that makes you feel like you are “doing something” more than “just being a stay-at-home-mom?” Hmmm…. That one stung a little.
In John 15 I find these words of Jesus refreshing to my soul.
“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.” -John 15:1-3
Did you catch that?
He cuts off the dead parts, and then He prunes us where we are ALREADY producing fruit, so that we will produce MORE. Have you ever been told that if you want to grow your hair out long, you need to cut off the dead ends first? It sounds counter-productive at first, right? Why would I cut something that I want to grow?
Why? Because it is holding you back from your true potential. It is keeping you from walking in the freedom Christ died to give you. It is keeping you from increasing your fruitfulness. It is DEAD WEIGHT.
For us to get back on track to the good and the glory God has planned for our life, we must let Him cut-away certain things that are not bearing fruit. This refining process is not pretty, or without hardship. In fact, it can be quite painful. But eventually, we are able to see the full perspective, and God’s hand in it. We see how losing that friendship, job, or whatever needed pruning from our lives led to healthier relationships, more fulfilling jobs, and more opportunity to serve a better purpose for the Kingdom.
Jesus goes on to say this: “You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine, and you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:3-5 NLT
Without direct connection to Jesus, we cannot produce new fruit. He is our Source. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Staying connected to Him produces perseverance, character, hope, purity of heart, cleansing of hands a transformed mind, and a life more abundant than we can ever dream of or imagine. That’s great news, right? But wait, there’s more…
One of my favorite passages in the Bible comes from 1 Peter 1 and it says this:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of His great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. You are being guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold – though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So, when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the entire world. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him, and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:3-9.
What an incredible promise! Our inheritance of living hope in Christ Jesus is unshakable. We can have confident expectation in a perfect, face-to-face union with the Maker and Lover of our souls - secured for us by Christ’s sacrifice and culminating in our one-day arrival in glory. We can rejoice in these trials knowing that the reward for trusting Him will be the salvation of souls, an eternity of rejoicing with glorious, inexpressible joy! Can you even fathom what that feels like?
Be encouraged today, sweet friends. You can be certain. In fact, you can bet your life on it, that He will use every situation to produce more fruit than you could ever imagine, for your good and His glory.
And that’s even better than a fresh haircut.
Guest Contributor: JEssica Chandler
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