Kill the Weeds:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” (John 15:1).
It was a beautiful sunny day when I wrote this devotional. I was spending the day out in the back yard pulling weeds. I don’t know about you, but I’m not much of a gardener. You may laugh at this, but before I started, I had to call my wife Liza to come out before I began to show me which green growing things were weeds, and which ones were plants we wanted to keep. A couple of hours later, my back and arms were sore – it was hard work killing all those weeds!
The Christian life is kind of like tending to a garden. Jesus Himself said that He was the true vine and His Father is the gardener.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned for greater fruitfulness by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful apart from me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who parts from me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you stay joined to me and my words remain in you, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted. My true disciples produce much fruit. This brings great glory to my Father.” (John 15:1-8).
So what’s Jesus saying here? He’s saying that Christians are like branches. Jesus is the main branch, or the vine, that we’re connected to. God the Father is the gardener. If we don’t bear fruit, Jesus says that He’ll cut us off, but if we do bear fruit, he’ll prune us, so that we can produce more fruit. How does Jesus prune Christians? Well, if a gardener prunes a tree by cutting off dead branches, then I think the way Jesus prunes Christians is by cutting off all the dead weights in our lives that keep us from being fruitful. Hebrews 12:1 says, “Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress.” What are the weeds that hinder us from being fruitful? Sin, of course, but also there may be “weights” in our life that might not be sins, but they may hinder us from being fruitful. It may be too much TV or internet time. Maybe it’s bad relationships with people who keep you from serving God. Whatever it is, kill those weeds, so you can be fruitful.
Jesus says that the only way we can be fruitful, is by remaining in Him – in the vine. That speaks of prayer. If we’re not maintaining a close and vital relationship with Jesus, we won’t be fruitful. But if we abide in Jesus (in prayer), and His words abide in us (in Bible study), we will bear much fruit, and God will be glorified. Can you think of any weeds in your garden (in your life) that might be hindering you from being fruitful for the Lord? If so, it’s time to do some pruning. Then, if you’re willing to do that: “The LORD will guide you continually, watering your life when you are dry and keeping you healthy, too. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” (Isaiah 58:11).
Pastor Chris Jordan