I would have to assume that landscaping is on the bottom of everyone’s list of favorite things to do outside (Hopefully I didn’t just lose half of you reading this…I have a point I promise). If you actually enjoy doing such a thing I think you’re in the minority. There really isn’t much glamor to pulling weeds, mulching, and planting flowers. It’s dirty. Sometimes it’s hot outside. It’s actually quite expensive to establish and maintain. Did I mention it’s monotonous? Due to the fact that a lot of us hate landscaping, we tend to put it off for months and months. Then the weeds are horrifically intertwined with our bushes, our bushes have new bushes growing outside of them, and our flowers look like Grandma stayed in the tanning bed a little too long.
With all of that said, I happened to have been doing some landscaping work this afternoon. I actually love doing such tasks (Except weeding…Those little devils can find their way back into the hell they came from). I find great pleasure in taking something and making it beautiful to look at. It’s nice to see the immediate fruits of hard work. So, while I was trimming away some trees today I got to thinking.
Yesterday I posted a blog about my many imperfections and my struggle to be something I can never be. A lot of you (throughout all platforms of social media) responded and it was quite encouraging to see. An individual (my dad…hi dad!) posted a few comments on said blog and it really spurred me to continue evaluating my stance before God and as a human being. As I was trimming away trees I was reminded that God is the sovereign “vinedresser”. Jesus speaks of this instance in John 15:1-2. He says,
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. “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.…”
My dad challenged me to think on how God is actively making me whole amidst my failures. You see, having a relationship with God isn’t something I hold lightly too. It’s not something that I claim because I think that I deserve it. No, my relationship with God only comes by His grace and forgiveness of me as a sinful man. Throughout the process of my life, God is actively working on my heart and making me more like Him. The verses I shared above are perfect examples of that. God is the vinedresser of my life and He is actively cutting off the dead ends of my heart. He is also seeing areas of my life that bear fruit but cutting them down so that they can produce more later on.
If you’re like me you may think, “Why would he cut off perfectly good fruit? That seems entirely redundant.” It’s simply because He knows the plant inside and out. He knows what is going to help it bring more fruit, what will weigh it down, or what will kill it. You see, when I was trimming away branches some of them had perfectly good flowers on it. The problem was that they were weighing themselves down…The branches holding them up had all but snapped themselves in half and it made the full tree look worse off than it was. There are things in our lives that are good but God ultimately knows only weigh us down; So He prunes it. There are also things in our life that God knows will kill us; So He cuts it off. There are also areas of our life that God sees fruit in but knows that we can produce more and better substance; So He prunes us. It’s painful to go through such a process. No one logically likes to have something or someone cut off from them (both figuratively and literally…ouch). Ultimately, through the pain we can know that our Vinedresser knows what He is doing. He cares for us and His decisions will undoubtedly make us a more beautiful plant in His garden.
So, my encouragement to anyone still reading is this…Trust God through the everyday goings of your life. When it’s good understand that God is to thank for that. When things are hard and you’re learning a lesson, understand that God is allowing it for your good. He is loving and perfect in his doings. He can be trusted. He is simply pruning you into a more beautiful plant.
So, as a follow up to yesterday…No, I will never be perfect in this life. No, I will never be able to go a day without flubbing up somehow. Despite myself I have a God who is actively working in my heart to bring about in me an image that best displays His holy character. He is making me whole.
I hope you have all had a wonderful day. Thank you for reading!