Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Pruning Back The Weeds

"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser..." 

We are all guilty of it.
We do it without thinking.
We are so accustomed to it that it has become like second nature. Like breathing. 

But breathing supplies the oxygen to our lungs - oxygen that is transported to all the nether regions of our body via the blood network, to perform functions that our brain requires them to do. 

What I'm referring is not as life-sustaining like that...



I'm talking about something more sinister. And it comes even more naturally than breathing:

Sin. 

It's a dirty word, despite the fact that it only has 3 letters, and not 4. 

Our flesh craves for it. It is addicted to it, cries out for more of it, like heroin. And much like a heroin junkie, our bodies conform to its presence, apathetic to its' fatal consequences. 

Every second of every minute of every day, a fresh scattering of the seed of sin is blown onto the fertile ground of our Adamic-inherited heart. It germinates, takes root, and attempts to take over, like a rampant weed. 

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?" (Jer 17:9).

The heart is where our true love lies. We are on the one hand eager to please God and follow in His ways, yet at the same time are wanting to wallow in the physical and emotional pleasures of sin.

And such is the battle that wages in the believer, between spirit and flesh.  

So, in order to placate our inability to please both flesh and spirit, we often give in to compromise. 

We pry the secateurs out of the Head Gardener's hands, and attempt to prune and shape the weeds of our sin, in order to limit its' damage.

"This sin is getting a bit out of control, so I'll just limit its' effect here, or there:

  • Instead of a filthy word every sentence, I'll cut it back to just when the kids aren't around.
  • Instead of watching that adult TV program every day, I'll trim it right down to once a month. 
  • Instead of pretending to look godly 24/7, I'll lop it off to just when others are looking."

We have gone from fruit-producers, to weed-controllers.

This is, of course, all counter-Christian, and counter-Biblical - in direct contrast to God's Word:

John 15:1-11:

 "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, that it may bear more fruit.
You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.
If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.
These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”



As believers, our lives are now rooted in Christ. He is the vine for which we are grafted into.
God, the Eternal gardener is constantly moulding and shaping us to be more like Him. 

But what happens to the weeds?
Answer: the text doesn't say. 

So where does that leave us with our sin?
I thought about it. Then I found the answer in a not so obvious section of the Lords' Prayer:

"...give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses..." (Matt 6:11-12).

Just as we ask God daily to provide us with the nourishment of His Word, shouldn't we ask for daily forgiveness for our trespasses also?. 

But it's not just limited to once a day, just like being soaked in His Word is not limited to once a day. 
And it's also not just forgiveness for the past. We ask for daily bread for the day going forward, so why not ask for forgiveness for the day going forward as well? After all, Christ has already bled and died for those ones, too - see John 15 above - "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you."

It takes a big swig of the bitter medicine of humility to admit that throughout the day you will break most, if not all of God's Commandments. 

But while we are busy pruning back the weeds of our sin, God has also been busy, cutting away and burning the dead wood, sanctifying us to be more Christ-like. 

We can come to His throne room safe in the knowledge that we have been forgiven already, washed in the cleansing blood that sweeps away the guilt and stain of ALL the seed of sin. 

Father, the winds will deliver fresh seeds of sin to my heart today. I will grieve your heart. I will sin in new and unique ways I haven't even thought of yet. 
And in my pride I will prune these sins back in a pathetic attempt to limit their damage, and hide them away from view. 

But there is no hiding from You. 

I rest on the knowledge that your Son suffered for those sins - the ones I have committed, and the ones I have yet to commit - for those stripes He bore, I have been healed. 
I ask for forgiveness for those sins. I ask forgiveness for my pride of trying to hide them from You, and giving them a foothold in my heart. 
Let the blood Your Son poured on the Cross wash all remnants of those sins away. Sanctify me by Your pruning, so that today I may be a bit more like Your Son than I am now.


I ask this in the precious name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Blessings.

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