I sit outside early in the morning. A slight chill lingers, but not enough for a jacket. A breeze circulates the scent of the jasmine and rosemary bushes from across the wall. The birds sing and chatter in the trees in my front yard. The sky turns from deep purple to gold to burnt orange as the sun makes its grand appearance over the mountains. A brand new Spring day has arrived!
Spring makes me think of gardens and gardens make me think of the Master Gardener—God.
The Bible has many references to gardens. There’s the garden of Eden, the garden of Gethsemane, the garden of the tomb, the garden described in Revelation–to name a few.
God does some of His best work in the gardens of our lives turning sin, disorder and barrenness to beauty and fruitfulness. Jesus often referenced seeds, soil, sowing, and other agricultural topics, all of which carry rich meaning in the context of human lives.
I love and admire gardens, but I do not consider myself a gardener. In fact, I think I have a black thumb. However, God taught me a lesson using the rose bushes in my yard that bloomed the most lovely long stem roses. Neighbors and family would remark at their beauty. The thing is, I never intended for them to be long stem roses. I just never pruned them. Honestly, I didn’t know about pruning at the time.
As each month passed, the roses bushes grew larger and taller until they were higher than my fence! That’s when I began to notice that some of the flower buds were not turning to roses. These deformed buds turned hard like a crab apple and never produced a flower. Then there were the aphids and the weeds. The rose garden was a mess—kind of like me on the inside where only the Lord could see.
“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.” John 15:1-2
God paralleled those unruly and unhealthy rose bushes to festering anger that had turned to bitterness in my life. The Master Gardener was at work, pruning away that which didn’t produce fruit. It was uncomfortable and quite frankly, I was not very happy about it. And I told Him so.
God’s response to me was, “My daughter, I’m not nearly as concerned about your comfort as I am your growth and my glory.”
When we fuss, complain, and sometimes even run from God’s pruning, we are only prolonging the process.
Our heavenly Father loves a flourishing garden and will do what is necessary to achieve fruitfulness. But for this work to be fruitful, we must remain attached to the vine of Jesus.
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. “ John 15:5
We will not produce anything of value without Jesus. Things of value require consistent effort and cooperation.
Pruning is painful.
Pruning is difficult.
Pruning is necessary for growth.
“When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” John 15:8
Are you cooperating or resisting God’s pruning? Are you producing the fruit of a true disciple?
Please take a moment to ask the Lord.
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