If you’ve ever gone plant shopping, then you know each plant has a little I.D tag. The tag is there to tell people what each plant needs to live. A watering schedule, how much sun, how big it grows, how much room its roots need to reach its full size, and what ‘zone’ of the state it will survive best in. I live in south Texas and I have to be very aware of what each of my plants needs so that I don’t miss something and kill my plants. One of the many in my garden is a Basil plant and it’s little tag said, “Full sun”. So, I put that puppy right in the sunniest part of my yard. As the plant got bigger, I noticed it would start to wilt around 3:00pm every day, so I would water again thinking it needed more water. As the weeks went on, I tried so many little things to try and help it along, but nothing fixed the problem. The leaves were starting to turn brown and nothing I did was saving it. The last thing I tried was moving it to a place that only got morning sun. BOOM. That’s all it needed, the dead leaves fell off, new growth filled in, and now it’s watering schedule matched the other plants.
So why did the tag say full sun, if full sun was just going to kill my plant? Why did it take reducing sunshine to 3 hours of morning sun to help my poor Basil? Simple, in Texas “full sun” isn’t the same sun as full sun in other places. It took me, as the gardener to make that choice for the sake of saving the plant. It took the gardener to say, “the other plants are fine with 7 hours of full sun but you are not”. It took the person tending the garden to notice the small changes and fix a problem before it destroyed the plant.
I’m sure by now you know where this is going, but I’m going to give it to you anyway.
John 15: 1-8 talks about how God is the gardener, Jesus is the true Vine and we are the branches. He tends the garden, diligently, lovingly, and purposefully. The vine is carefully watched to see what parts are fruitful, damaged, stunted, or dying. He looks for whatever is hurting the vine and takes it away, and whatever part is doing well is pruned. What would happen if we let God prune our lives the way he desires to? What would it look like if we let him cut off the parts of our lives that are causing harm instead of holding onto them? God is the gardener, he is only interested in what is best for the vine. He spends all his time tending to what you and I need to bear fruit. Just like the plants in any garden, we came with a little tag that says what we need to be fruitful in life. He doesn’t read the tag, he wrote that tag. He won’t put you in a harmful place then sit there and wonder why you aren’t doing well. He knows exactly where you need to be fruitful. The difference is my poor basil plant couldn’t move itself, but we can. We can choose to stay and grow where he told us to stay. Often times, we position ourselves somewhere in life and refuse to move because we think we know best. This is not the right way. The verses go on to say when we abide in him, he will abide in us, and when he is in us, we will be fruitful.
Abide in him ⇒ God abides in us ⇒ Fruit ⇒ we are pruned ⇒ more fruit grows
Proverbs 3:5-6-5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
I encourage you this week to read John 15 and when you do, really think about what he’s saying to you. There is a lot mentioned in this chapter that I haven’t touched on and I hope it encourages you as much as it encouraged me! (When I read this chapter on my bible app I set the version to Amplified and I turned on red letter because I like how it clarified some points.)