Returning home recently after two weeks away, I was shocked to see the state of my garden, which was looking very untidy and overgrown. The lawn was looking more like a field, and weeds appeared to have taken over in the flower beds and vegetable patch. Even the flowers and vegetables that I had planted had become straggly and were in need of attention. Because the beans had not been picked, they had become hard and inedible, and the plants had stopped producing more. All this had happened in just two weeks! But it made me think of our lives, and how important it is for us to allow our Heavenly Father (the Divine Gardener) to be constantly at work in us.
In a garden, weeds can grow very quickly from a small seed, and it’s the same in our lives. Wrong heart attitudes can start small but can grow large bitter roots (Hebrews 12:15) if left unchecked. Ungodly behaviours and responses can start in a minor way but can soon start to choke the good fruit. In the Parable of the Sower, the good seed becomes choked by thorns and thistles, which Jesus says are “the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things” (Mark 4:19). Gardeners will know how constant the weeding process needs to be, and it’s the same in our lives!
Gardeners will also understand the need to prune the good plants. Flowers that have bloomed need `deadheading`. Dead wood needs to be cut out of trees and shrubs, and even the good growth needs cutting back to make it more fruitful. Jesus speaks of this in today’s verse: “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” Without divine pruning, our lives will soon become out of order and lose some of their fruitfulness.
Jesus said in John 15:16 that He had chosen us and appointed us to go and bear fruit. We need to be allowing the Holy Spirit to work in our lives to bring this fruit, and we need to be moving in the gifting and calling that He has given each one of us. If this is neglected, I wonder if it will be like the beans in my garden that had not been picked and were going to waste, useless and inedible.
Let’s ask our Father, who is the Gardener, to be at work in our lives now, showing us any `weeds`, pruning back the good things in our lives to make us even more fruitful, and enabling us to walk in our gifting so we do bear fruit.
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