Have you ever felt a surge of excitement when reading those words? Perhaps your mind races, imagining what wonderful things are in store!
Last night, my husband and I decided to watch a movie—one of those popular, practically-everyone-has-heard-of-it kind of films. With access to the movie came the opportunity to watch several deleted clips. Sounds exciting, right? I mean, the chance to get exclusive content from a popular film?
It didn’t take long for me to realize that the director, and whomever else was involved in the editing process, had made good decisions. These clips seemed unnecessary and a bit lackluster, which got me thinking…
It might be easy to assume that the scenes were easy to cut, especially after knowing what a huge hit the movie had become. I imagine, however, that at the time of editing, hitting the “delete” button was a little more uncomfortable. Perhaps, painful.
Imagine you create something meaningful. It could be a drawing, blueprints, a short story, a song, etc. You invest time and energy into that creation. After spending careful hours fine-tuning each section, you realize cuts need to be made. Two sections must be erased / deleted.
How would that make you feel? Would the decision be a simple process, and once made, would it be easy to follow through?
Perhaps some of you would find it effortless, but I imagine that’s not the case for everyone. In the writing world, I’ve heard it called, “Killing your darlings.” Sometimes, you need to delete passages that you really love in order to improve the overall story. Not every paragraph, even eloquent ones, serve the story’s purpose. When editing, you need to be prepared to let things go, even sections you love (“your darlings”), for the greater good of the story. If you make the cut, you do so hoping it will yield a better product.
I imagine this director did the same thing. After a team invested hours into script writing, costume fittings, run-throughs, staging, directing, and filming, the section was cut. He made a hard choice, and in my opinion, it yielded a better product.
God does something similar for us through a process called pruning. Jesus said:
Pruning involves cutting back excess growth so a plant can be more fruitful. Though it may be uncomfortable at times, it’s necessary for our maturity. If we want to keep growing in our relationship with God, we need to recognize the love behind His pruning shears. God loves us, and His ways are best. He knows what we need and has a purpose for us here on earth. He also sees the things in our lives that would hinder our walk with Him. When He says to lay something down, it’s important to obey. He knows that laying down that area is necessary for our spiritual well-being.
Imagine if a movie director was all-knowing. His team would never have to worry about his decisions. After all, the director would see the box office sales before they happened, so if he said edit…they’d happily edit.
If we have surrendered our lives to Jesus, we are the film and God is our Director—our Director Who knows everything. He can see what will happen today, tomorrow, and the next day. He knows what choices we should make in order to walk in His perfect plan. As we follow Him, He may want to edit areas of our lives. Why worry? Why doubt? God knows what the future holds, and we can trust Him. We can be confident that He will continue to work in us as we continue to follow Him. Consider what Paul says in Philippians:
Let’s be open to His instruction and pruning in our hearts. Being pruned might not be easy, but with God, it’s worth it. Though it may feel uncomfortable at times, it will yield something greater in the end. We will bear more fruit and stay in fellowship with the Vine.