“Growth comes from building on talents, gifts and strengths – not by solving problems.”* Most people want to live a fruitful, abundant life, but don’t want to do the work. In SECRETS OF THE VINE –Breaking Through to Abundance by Bruce Wilkinson, he explains the “secrets.”
SECRETS OF THE VINE is the sequel to his book, The Prayer of Jabez, and provides a blueprint to obtain abundance in your life. The abundance doesn’t always mean monetary increase, but rather anything that can help you gain more peace and control in your life. It centers around the parable of the vine and the vineyard found in John 15 and here is where the “secret” is revealed.
Mr. Wilkinson shares his belief that the “secret” is really three secrets, and they really aren’t secrets after all, but rather the final message Jesus gave to His disciples. “I am the true vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser…”(John 15). In order for the vine (you) to produce larger, sweeter grapes (more abundance in your life) you have to prune (get rid of) the things that are no longer working or blocking your way (low-hanging fruit). He uses baskets to express the parable:
- “Basket 1 – NO FRUIT – nearly half of all Christians all over the world.”
- “Basket 2 – FRUIT – nearly half of all Christians all over the world.”
- “Basket 3 – MORE FRUIT – one-third of all Christians.”
- “Basket 4 – MUCH FRUIT – only 5% of all Christians.”
As painful as it may be, you have got to get rid of the low-hanging fruit in your life. What could be pruned can be your attitude, your approach to daily circumstances, clutter, negative people, negative situations, a dead-end job, etc. They may take the form of friends, spouses, jobs, professional organizations, etc. Another way to view low-hanging fruit, is it draining your energy? Does is feel toxic? Do you find yourself making excuses not to do it? Do you feel like it is wasting your time (not to be confused with it being a waste of time)? Wasting your time is ongoing, doing/saying the same thing over and over again and getting the same results. A waste of time is typically something done once and brings very little or no value.
Situations can be as simple or as complex as we choose to make it. It may be that you’ve outgrown the choices that you made 5, 10 or even 1 year ago, but fear holds you back. While you may have outgrown those choices, they still hold you hostage. These obstacles are merely lessons. Lessons in discernment or wisdom and they show up in different ways. The book discusses three seasons of transformation. “The Season of Discipline.” (Listening), “The Season of Pruning.” (Sacrificing) and “The Season of Abiding.” (Obeying).
THOUGHTS for your SOUL:
- “…We’re born with the conviction that we deserve to be in control of our lives. This assumption conflicts with the life of faith.”
- “Disciplining is about sin. The discipline is designed to get your attention, to make you stop doing the wrong things.”
- “Pruning is about self. Early pruning is mostly about your outward activities and priorities, mature pruning is about your values and personal identity.”
Although this book is written from a Christian perspective the principles can be applied to non-Christian people and situations. Every person has baggage and/or regrets, however more times than we realize we have opportunities to do things over and start anew. So, why is it important to get rid of your baggage? Because you can always navigate through the storms of life better when you pack light, pack the right stuff and are not bogged down with a heavy load. The choice is… about how you choose to live your life in a world of believers and non-believers.
Let’s BOND over BOOKS rates SECRETS OF THE VINE as EASY and ENGAGING, (150 pages or less)…straight-forward, light and to the point.
*Taken from “An Enemy Called Average,” Nugget #3 by John L. Mason.
Reprinted with permission from WaterBrookMultnomah Publishers, a division of RandomHouse Publishing.