I have some type of house plant on the desk at my office which I guess really makes it an “office plant.” It was given to me a few months ago by the person who occupied the desk before I did. It looks like a Caladium except it is greener and thicker. The truth is that ever since it was placed in my care I have been struggling to take care of it. Though it did not start off in the best of health, and has not had the best of care, things are starting to get better. With the help of my cubicle neighbor Allison I think I have finally discovered just how often it should be watered. I have also discovered how often it should not be watered; which is to say that my neighbor Allison has helped me soak up the extra water out from under my printer after I surpassed the appropriate “watering threshold” on a couple of occasions. I am a slow learner, what can I say. Despite my best efforts and a little plant food, my plant still has not grown much or been as healthy as I would expect. Last week though, things took a turn for the better. I pruned some unhealthy and dead leaves just so that it would not look so bad. Soon thereafter I was surprised by some new growth. A whole new bright green stem started to pop up. Within two days there was another nice shiny green leaf! I was so excited ran to go get some more water – until Allison stopped me and reminded me it was not watering day.
As I reflected on the new growth that God provided in that plant, I thought of some great words in John chapter 15. Jesus is speaking of how we exist to glorify God. He says that we can only do that through a relationship with the Father through Him. In John 15:5 He says “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” Sometimes our lives are like that poor little house plant on my desk. We want to grow, we want to bear much fruit, and we want to do great things! We try watering, we try plant food, we try so many things but we don’t get the results we want – still our life just doesn’t look right. Very little happens. We still don’t seem to be healthy; we still don’t seem to be bearing fruit. The Bible is true; it is spot on. Apart from Christ you cannot really do anything; at least not anything that really matters in the grand scheme of things. First, we need to ask ourselves if we have the right relationship with the Lord. Have we been reconciled to God the Father through His Son Jesus Christ? Have we received Christ as Lord and been forgiven of our sins? Are we abiding in Him? That is the relationship we need to be able to do anything significant, anything of eternal, lasting value.
Even, if we are confident of our relationship with Christ, we can still experience times when our lives don’t look right. There can still be times when we struggle to grow and bear fruit. It is in those times that we need to ask if there are some unhealthy or dead areas that need to be removed from our lives. Are there some things that need to be avoided, let go or tossed aside? When we prune those areas we make room for new growth. Please understand, if you don’t prune it the Lord will. In the beginning of that same chapter Jesus says in John 15:1-2, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.”
Yes, the Lord loves to see us grow. For that reason He will prune the branches so that new growth can occur. Sometimes pruning can be a painful process. But even if it is painful, the new growth that follows is always a blessing. Bearing fruit is also a blessing for it brings glory to the Father. Until next time, stay strong in the faith.