Friday, October 13, 2006

Lessons from the Garden

This morning was lovely. The thermometer barely touching 80. The sun clouded and to the west the blue sky spread with those high, clean, wispy clouds that come after a rain. The breeze coming softly over the river, wafting a fresh, woodsy exhilarating scent through the morning air.

A good morning to get some yard-work done. I got my pruning shears and went around cutting dead branches off plants. After I finished, I walked past my bouganvillea again and noticed a totally dead branch lying on top of the fence. Hmm.. must have cut it off awhile back and it didn't fall to the ground. I reached to take it off, but it wouldn't move, so I lifted up the branches and checked the end of the stem. It was still connected - at least it looked like it. That's strange... But when I pulled on it again, I realized that though the outer bark was connected, the inner fibers of the branch had been broken off long ago.

It made me think of Jesus' words,
"Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned." - John 15:5-6 ESV
It made me think - about the possibility of looking like abiding in Christ. It is possible to be disconnected from the life of Christ in the heart and yet maintain an outward semblance of it for a time. Outwardly the religious activity that accompanies true abiding in Christ is the same, but inwardly the connection is not there. It doesn't last. That dead branch was a sober reminder that it doesn't.

The importance of being in Christ is immense. To be really in Him, by faith, is what matters above all else. What good is it to maintain an appearance of being in Christ? It is of no value; it is even damnable. The disconnected branch may for a little while
remain green, but it will dry up and be destined for burning.

But to be really in the vine, even if it means being pruned and for awhile not looking like much - to be really in Christ and He in me - that in time I may be
"filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God." (Philippians 1:11 ESV) the greatest blessedness, for only in Christ will I bear good fruit, and bearing good fruit I shall be proven to be in Christ. Then my hope increases, and God is glorified.
"By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples." - John 15:8 ESV

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