One time I thought it would be a great idea to transplant a raspberry plant from my grandmother’s back yard in West Virginia to the scorching HOT, humid, climate of Houston, TX. At least I can say the plant lived, but in its prime it might have produced 30 WHOLE berries. That’s not exactly what I was hoping for, especially when my family had to go through the trouble of carrying the plant through the airport and into an airplane. At least I can say I was a kid and it was a long time ago.
I wish my misfortunes with gardening could stop with the first example, but unfortunately I have experienced other mishaps in my few years. I have planted sun loving plants in the shade, put no consideration to the soil composition or the nutrients available before planting, not watered properly, not mulched, and fertilized too much, only to find out later that the plants would not thrive under those conditions.
After these experiences I wish I could say that I have developed a “green thumb”, but I haven’t. It is still white as can be. Thankfully, I have at least learned if I want to take a plant and get what I want from it then I better consider the needs of the plant. The plant is not going to succeed and produce quality fruits if I don’t provide it with what it needs.
There is a spiritual application to make here. We are compared to that of a plant and instructed to bear good fruits - fruits of God.
Romans 7:4, “Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.”(ESV)
John 15:7-8, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”(ESV)
This is not a difficult comparison to understand, but the devil still manages to distort it in several ways:
- He tries to lead us to believe that we can bear bad fruits (Galatians 5:19-21) and still be of God.
- He wants us to think that growing fruits of God will happen without any preparation or work on our part.
- He wants us to believe that we can partake in sin without yielding what sin brings forth.
- He deceives people into thinking that evil will lead to good.
- He wants for us to be so unfamiliar with God’s word that we can no longer distinguish between good and bad fruits.
Just like a plant has certain needs that must be met to provide fruit, we also have definite needs that must be met if we are to show “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). We must first believe in God who promises he will provide us with the sunshine (2 Cor. 4:6), the water (John 4:13-14), and the nutrients (2 Tim. 3:16-17) we need to grow.
We must be willing to love Him with all our heart, soul, strength and mind (Luke 10:27). We must put away pride which prevents us from recognizing and confessing the sins that we are producing. We must repent and turn away from our sins, and get engaged with God through prayer, bible study, and involvement with the church. We must recognize that sin will NEVER produce good results in us. We must strive to grow not for our glory but to bring praise and honor to God’s name (Psalm 115:1).
The unfortunate aspect for many plants is that they can get to a point where disease has taken over and there is no hope for saving it. Fortunately for us, no matter what spiritual condition we may be in, we can always count that Jesus can heal us of our sins. Jesus described himself as the “True Vine”, and anyone that abides in Him will bear the fruit of God (John 15:4-5).
The questions that I need to ask myself and I encourage you to do the same are:
- Do I see sin for what it is and for what it will produce in me? Has the devil deceived me into thinking anything different about sin?
- Have I turned to Jesus to cleanse me from my sin and am I abiding in Him?
- Am I looking to God through prayer and study of His word for growth?