Hey! Thanks for taking the time to read this weeks blog. In this blog I am going to conclude the mini-series that I've been doing around the idea of growing plants. In this final part I want to look at what happens when the plant is fully grown.
We have explored what kind of soil we should plant our seeds in, we have also looked at what kind of seeds we are planting and then finally in last weeks blog we looked at how to nurture our seeds in order for them to grow.
This week I want to focus on what happens when our plant reaches a state of maturity. One of the amazing things about plants is their ability to reproduce, from one apple tree you can harvest a many apples and in turn plant many more seeds. This process is an amazing feat of creation and can repeat itself over and over again.
Once we reach a point of 'maturity' we can bear our own fruit and in turn plant our own seeds.
Colossians 2:6-7 (NIV)
Spiritual Fullness in Christ 6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Following on from last week, this verse in Colossians teaches us that we need to be rooted in Christ. A key part of being able to bear good fruit is that the plant remains connected to its source of nourishment. The idea of spiritual fullness is something that we should always be striving to achieve by doing what we looked at last week and immersing ourselves in the word of God, prayer and worship just like the plant soaks in the water and sunlight, we should soak in God's presence.
John 15 (NIV)
The Vine and the Branches 15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
These verses from John 15 teach us many things and summarises a lot of the ideas we have already looked at. But, one of the key ideas that keeps a plant in good health once it reaches maturity is the idea of pruning. In our lives we are surrounded by a conflict of influence, what we read in the bible and learn from our faith isn't always reflected by the other settings and circumstances in our lives, which puts us in a difficult position. We all have outside influences that have a negative affect on our being, our words and our actions. As we looked at in the second blog we must tame our tongues and consider the seeds that we are planting, but also consciously control our actions too. From this inner dialogue, God will prune the 'bad' parts of us and, in turn, allow the good parts of us to grow and flourish. Sometimes this pruning process can feel painful, but we must remember that our faith and trust is in God and we have to allow the pruning to happen in order for the next season of fruit to be produced.
Spiritual maturity comes from immersing ourselves in the presence and word of God and allowing him to prune the parts of us that are getting in the way.
I pray that we will all be 'pruned' and allow God to give and take from us in order to create growth and encourage us to bear good fruit.
Thanks for reading and have a blessed week! We've got an extra blog this week for you on Sunday so make sure you check here or via Facebook to keep up to date.