Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:4-5
I have learned something about myself. One might assume that since I am hovering somewhere between fifty and sixty, there wouldn’t be much left to learn. Oh, contraire.
I have always known that I love flowers, red birds, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Through the years, each spring, I would buy hanging baskets to decorate my porch, deck, and pool area. I remember being so proud of myself when I moved from silk flowers to real flowers for this annual event. I occassionally under watered and overwatered. My hanging baskets had a very short life span. As for the rest my outdoor favorites–my hummingbird feeder never drew hummingbirds and my bird feeder drew squirrels.
This year I made a change. God gave me a daughter-in-law with a green thumb who is teaching me how to actually care for plants that attract butterflies—care, as in take care; work at. Producing beautiful flowers and plants takes intentional attention. Herein is the lesson I’ve learned. I naturally like to look at blooming plants and beautiful flower gardens, but the upkeep just doesn’t come naturally to me at all. In other words, the natural me does not produce the type of bloom I’d like to see.
Paul tells believers in the book of Galatians what type of bloom—fruit—should be displayed in their lives. However, he also reminds us in Romans 7:15-20 that the fruit does not come from human efforts, but from the Holy Spirit in us.
Making choices to be nourished by the Holy Spirit who produces this fruit can be a struggle. God the Creator has His Spirit in us to dig and prune and enable intentionality. His word nourishes and fertilizes us to grow in our relationship with Christ. Time in prayer waters and refreshes us, and allows us to hear His gardening tips for our live
If you are like me, life gets busy and can cause us to neglect the gardening our souls need. Without abiding in Him we may find ourselves resembling a silk plant that is pretty, but lifeless—a mere imitation of what our Creator intended us to be. None of us want to do a lot of something that becomes nothing. Do you need to “stop and smell the roses” spiritually? Do you need to abide?