After my morning devotion the other day, I browsed through my journal and came across an entry I wrote two years ago. It started with an excerpt from my then devotional by Charles Swindoll titled ‘Great Days With Great Lives.’ It’s about Moses’ encounter with God in the burning bush. And as I read it again, I realized it still speaks deeply to me just as it did back then.
“…I have pruned away from you all those things you used to hang on to and that meant so much to you. I have reduced you to a simple love for Me.”
It’s interesting to note that the original meaning of the word reduce is “to be restored” or “be led back to.” True enough, God’s pruning does just that. It reduces us, it restores us back to a healthy spiritual state where we can be nourished by God’s unlimited supply of love and grace.
Personally, I noticed that God’s pruning becomes more evident in my life whenever I am puffed up with pride. That’s because pride (just like every kind of sin) hinders me from fully experiencing God in my life. Looking back at those moments now, I thank God all the more for His pruning. I am grateful that He loves me that much to discipline me, to remind me of His truth, and to save me from self-destruction. And despite the momentary pain and sorrow, I know it’s all worth it—because He is greater than anything I would ever have to let go of.
When you google the word love, it comes up with so many answers. Some are idealistic, some are romantic, some are bitter, and some are down right crazy. There are lists and charts and figures on how to improve it. When did love become so technical? Good thing God doesn’t relate with us that way.
The process of pruning and restoration we went through leads to this: that we will grow in our love for Him. Love that is simple and pure. Love that is uncomplicated and unpretentious. Love that is modest and true. Love that is like His.
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins… We love because he first loved us.” -1 John 4:9-10, 19 (NIV)