I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
In the summertime, it takes quite a bit of effort to keep the yard and garden in check. Left to their own natural tendencies, the weeds try to completely take over. Even the plants we want to keep will grow completely out of control if we don’t actively trim them back.
Last weekend, we battled several particularly noxious weeds. One, nicknamed “mile-a-minute weed” is a prickly, sticky, insidious weed that had attempted to take over our grape arbor. This weed doesn’t grow deep roots, but it spreads quickly, and its thorns make it especially painful to remove. Another one is called poke weed. This one grows high and straight, but with deep, tuber-like roots that look like something from a Harry Potter movie. Digging them out requires strength and tenacity.
It’s easy to find spiritual truths when gardening. After all, God first placed humans in a garden setting and many of Jesus’ parables feature soil and farming. As I tackled our weeds last week, I saw many parallels between these weeds and sin in my life. Both can be hard to spot when they first make an appearance. A white lie here, a critical word there. Doesn’t seem like a big deal when it’s small or infrequent. But both are easier to root out early on. When left unchecked, sin and weeds can grow into patterns and habits. Critical words here and there can grow into a critical spirit. Occasional over-indulgence can lead into addiction. And so the weeds can grow, perhaps unnoticed for a while, until they are out of control and obvious.
Thank you, Lord, for the tender care You give us. Thank you that You love us too much to let sin grow unchecked in our life. Help us to willingly submit to Your hand and to be tenacious about rooting out sin in our life.
Fortunately, we have a Master Gardener who loves us so much that He will do whatever is necessary to weed out sin in our life and keep us growing and healthy. Sometimes this process is painful, especially if we have let the weeds take over. He may even need to trim back some good things in our life if we have let them crowd our relationship with Him. But we can trust His sure hand, knowing that all pruning and weeding is done out of love and a desire to see us healthy, growing and bearing fruit.
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