Pruning in Love’s Context
by Doug Mitts
As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him. (1 John 2:27, NAS95)
I have always taken the “anointing” to refer to the Holy Spirit (John 14:25, 16:13). I love this aged apostle’s insight as he communicates it to me from his 60 years or so of life after Jesus’ resurrection. He writes from the perspective of his experience and a deep awareness of what Jesus taught in his presence. For John, recognizing the Spirit’s teaching, reminding, guiding or pruning always held a sweet reminder of the love he felt in Jesus’ presence.
As for me, while the Spirit engages me in many of the same ways as He did John, pruning holds the place of prominence. When God first reconciled me to Himself through Jesus, a lot of things got pruned quickly. The cussing stopped. I ceased going to movies that had questionable content. The Spirit convicted me of excessive speeding. I ceased being told what I need to do by my parents, and I started volunteering to do my responsibilities, even doing things for my parents they didn’t require or expect. The Spirit pruned things from my life. None of these changes came as a result of peer pressure, but because of the Spirit quietly teaching me to pay attention to the pure, acceptable and good, especially God. The Anointing taught me to pursue things that better reflected love and honored community, whether friends, church, or larger gatherings.
The Spirit abiding in me also cultivated other habits and attitudes — some are still under construction and it almost always includes pruning — but I noticed I am never alone, and the Spirit never ceases to train me toward the love that God is: Christlikeness. He’s pruned responses to intense emotions, cultivating the ability to remain present to others when I’d just as soon flee. He’s developed my prayer life and my self-awareness so I can let go of pride and enter transformation more proactively with Him. The list could go on, but what remains shows the Spirit, the Anointing, continually abides with me. He cultivates and prunes. Like John, His activity holds a sweet reminder of Jesus-kind-of-love, and the pruning always enhances life, love and community. That’s pruning in Love’s context!
“I have more insight than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation.” (Psalm 119:99, NAS95)
- What has the Spirit brought to your attention of late for pruning? Where do you see Him at work in your life?
- How is what you are noticing entering the conversation that the Spirit is having with you?