BY: SHARON LONG
E-MAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org
BIBLE TEXT: John 15:3-4: You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
PERSONAL REFLECTION: Spring. The time of the year when the grass starts growing and flowers begin to bloom. People spend hundreds of dollars to make their grass green, flowers and shrubs grow bigger and bloom brightly, and keep weeds from invading their yards.
I am not much of a gardener. I do not have a green thumb at all and everything I attempt to grow usually winds up dead no matter how much effort I put into caring for it. In my last home I had two very beautiful crepe myrtle trees. They were mature so I didn’t think I had to spend any time tending to them. After some time I noticed that there were weeds growing at the base of each tree, so I did what I knew to do, pull the weeds.
Going forward to the next season the weeds, of course, came back and upon closer look something seemed off with one of the trees. I saw that several of the weeds were actually growing up and around and intertwined the tree. The base the weeds was so thick I was not able to just pull them out. I had to cut it with a saw. The upper part of the weed had begun to blend itself into the tree so that it looked like it was part of the tree. By the end of the day I had to trim a big part of the tree back because the weed had damaged many branches. Not only did I have to pull the weed out of the tree, but I had to kill it at the base so that I would not come back to damage the tree.
Much like the weed, sin grows in our lives. It sometimes appears as though it belongs or it’s good, but in reality it is slowly killing us and keeping us separated from our relationship with Christ. As Jesus said in his parable of the true vine, we are to remain in him and he will remain in us. We cannot be fruitful unless we remain in a right relationship with Jesus. Apart from Jesus we can do nothing. Most sin, like weeds, are easy to pull and get rid of but those weeds or sin that are blended into our lives and appear to be OK are more difficult to get rid of. Sometimes we must allow Jesus, the Great Gardener, to prune us and remove those things in our lives that get in the way of our relationship with him so that we can continue to grow and produce fruit.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Each day in my relationship with Jesus, I need to allow him to prune me so that I can continue to grow. It is not always easy and to be truthful, it can be very painful. The end result is eternal life with him and that is worth the pain of some pruning so that I can grow stronger.
PRAYER: Lord, just like the different seasons of the year bring about growth for grass and flowers and trees, you are very present in every season of my life. Through the great times of growth to the times of the deepest pain, you never leave me nor forsake me. Thank you for being the Great Gardener and pruning away the things in my life that I no longer need so that I will continue to grow stronger. Amen
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sharon has lived in Mount Juliet for 10+ years. She has 3 amazing kids: Ashleigh, Rachel, and Michael and two dogs: Bear and Buster. She has attended Life Assembly for 10 years, serving in Children’s ministry and Women’s ministry. She has worked for Change Healthcare for 5 years.