John 15:1-2 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
I completely surprised myself about a month ago! As I was returning home from teaching a Bible study in early April, 2014, I passed by our neighborhood Lowes and compulsively turned into the parking lot, parked the car and walked into the garden section. The garden department was replete with colorful flowering potted plants of all varieties. You may be thinking, really? What is so surprising about walking into the garden department at Lowes? I DO NOT grow anything! I gave up attempting to grow plants when I was going to college and lived in an apartment.
For some reason, which I did not know then, I was drawn to the hanging potted flowers. I walked up every aisle looking at the different colored blooms and thinking if I buy one of these hanging plants, it will have to be watered every day! NO, more clearly, I will have to water it every day!
Well, I relented and bought a flourishing bright, fuchsia colored potted plant of petunias! I came immediately home and hung it along the archway entrance to our home! My friend of 30 plus years was visiting us at that time and commented on how absolutely gorgeous they were and I am sure was also thinking ‘I wonder how long they will stay gorgeous!’
Well, I dutifully watered the petunias every day and on the fourth day while I was watering, my friend stood there next to me as my support and encouragement for watering my lush petunias and said something that provided me with the nugget for writing this devotional. She said, “My mother always told me to prune the dead blooms and the plant will continue to bloom!
At first I thought, it’s going to have to be good enough that I am watering this thing and now I’m told I have to prune the dead blooms too! Who has time for that? I surprised myself! Since she said that, I began to dutifully water and prune the dead blooms. Today, May 12, 2014, my petunias are still blooming!
Jesus, in John 15:1 and 2 says we are like a plant that bears fruit (or bloom) like my petunias. I believe that God, our Gardner watches to see how fruitful our lives are and how He can help keep us fruitful for the building of His Kingdom and for our own personal development. Jesus says that the Father purposefully examines every branch on the plant and removes the branches that are not bearing fruit and prunes the branches that are bearing fruit so the plant will bear more fruit! I had the role of Gardner of my petunias, in the same way, God is the Gardener of our lives. Just like I watered the petunias every day and examined every branch pruning all the dead blooms (fruit), God, the Gardener of our lives, desires to water us with His Word that we receive from reading His Word, listening to sound teaching from our pastors and ministers, and direct teaching from the Holy Spirit. Our Gardener also desires to remove the dead things in our lives such as unproductive thoughts, negative associations, conduct that hinders our successes in life and so on,… Then the areas where the dead things in our lives were removed make room for more productive fruit to take its place such as, thinking and speaking faith filled words that are aligned with sound doctrine, or reconciling and restoring relationships that are shut down due to offense, or pushing through a difficult situation that requires you to change.
Ask the Lord to remove the dead things in your life that hold you back from living a fruitful life. Living through the pruning process may not always be comfortable, but we know from the promise in John 15:2 “…while every branch that does not bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”