In the previous article, we saw how in many ways, we are like the tree described in Psalm 1. Today I would like us to look at God's role in our lives as "trees planted by the rivers of water".
There are many beautiful trees in the forests and wilderness, but many of the most beautiful trees are those that are wisely and carefully tended by an expert master gardener. If we look carefully, we can see that God very easily fits into the role of Master Gardener in our lives.
A true master gardener gardens because he loves his work, he loves to see the beautiful results of his hard work. So it is with God, he cares for us because he loves us, and takes no greater joy than in seeing the result of his work blossom and grow in our lives. Looking through the scriptures, we find several terms used that help to complete the picture of God as our Master Gardener.
God will graft us into His Word. In gardening, the main aspect of grafting is grafting a tree from its existing root to a different, stronger root that will help the tree to grow larger, stronger, and to produce better fruit.
This can very easily compare to our lives. We may have started our lives in rough places, or in very wicked or hard circumstances, but when we come to Christ, and commit our lives to follow him, it is as if God takes us from our evil roots, and grafts us to the mighty root of his word. It does not matter how awful or hard of a root we have come from, God can take us from the place we started and bring us to a place of beauty and productiveness.
"Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls." (James 1:21)
The key here for us to diligently use God's Word, and as a tree draws all of its strength and nutrients from its roots, we need to rely on God's Word as the sole source of our strength and righteousness.
God will prune our branches to produce better growth. Even the most perfect fruit tree could use a pruning now and then. When a gardener prunes his trees, he cuts off any ugly or misshapen limbs, as well as prunes away many perfectly good looking branches, leaving only the best branches to grow and thrive.
In our lives as Christians, many times we get too busy with all the many different areas and distractions in our lives. Some of the things are ones that we know are bad or misshapen, addictions, bad relationships, maybe even something as simple as some small thing we do to waste time. When we step back and look, we can easily see how these things could hinder the growth of any tree.
"What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." (Romans 6:21-22)
The other branches are a little more difficult to see why they need to be pruned, they can seem to be perfectly good branches, but God knows that if these are allowed to grow, they will cause a weaker tree with less fruit in the end. These branches represent good things in our lives that we enjoy doing, and though there is nothing wrong with them, God may tell us we need to take them out of our lives in order to focus better on his word and work.
Just as pruning can hurt a tree, God's pruning in our lives can hurt also. When we neglect to take away the things in our lives that are harmful or provide hindrance to our growth, many times God will lovingly prune it away. We may have a painful scar as a result, but it will serve as a reminder to us that God does not want any area of our lives to be unproductive.
"Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit." (John 15:2)
Thinning our fruit will allow God to grow larger, better fruit. Who would not want to see many fruits in our lives? But there are times in our lives when we begin to see fruit, that God will take it away, leaving us wondering and despaired.
When a tree begins to produce fruit, a good gardener will go out and pluck a large amount of the small fruits off the tree. If all the fruits are allowed to grow, the tree will be spreading its energy to many more outlets, and the fruit will not be as large, or as sweet. Thinning much of the fruit will allow the tree to give a greater supply of nutrients to the fewer, individual fruits, thus bringing forth a larger and sweeter harvest.
There may be times in our lives when God will take away all seeming fruit from our lives, maybe some of the people we have been witnessing to, or removing opportunities we have to minister, or maybe even some of the fruits of our labors in day to day living. Whatever it may be, it is never easy to see all that "good fruit" drop off our lives. What we fail to realize is that when God takes this fruit away, He is in reality allowing us to give more time and energy into producing the fruit that will bring forth a bigger and better harvest.
"For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is know by his own fruit." (Luke 6:43-44a)
As we look to God as the Master Gardener in our lives, it is important that we stay rooted in his word and be attentive to the direction he gives in our lives. If we do this on a daily basis, God would then have freedom to use our lives to produce a bountiful harvest of good fruits, using them to bring to others life, joy, encouragement, and a challenge for they themselves to allow God to be the Master Gardener in their lives as well.
Posts from the Past
Every Wednesday I post something that I have written in the past. It may have been written a long time ago, or a very, very long time ago! :-D So please forgive any mistakes!