All the jungle is gone! Now it is time for me to start working on that end of the yard….training and pruning rose bushes; perhaps planting more to fill in the empty spaces. Some of the remaining trees are good, standing tall, willowy, and nicely attractive. But there are some that will need to be strengthened if they are ever to stand tall and straight.
Jesus spoke of pruning and cutting back the bad growth. He likened our lives to farming; the planting of seed, pruning back what needed to be removed so that good growth could take place. Watching all that mess along the fence line, I thought about how our lives need to be pruned and bad growth removed. Like it or not, as human beings, we tend to grow wild at times and need to be cut back if we are to become strong and healthy. So, once in awhile, we need to allow God to remove all the unruly growth in our lives and to show us how to grow properly. That requires repentance, and new commitment. It’s not something that happens once and we are perfect for the remainder of our lives; it’s something we need to do throughout our lives.
Periodically, we need to take inventory of our lives; ask God to show where we need correction. Pray, “God, create in me a clean heart”, “Renew my spirit”. If we are not willing to allow God to “prune our lives”, then likely we are in a state of rebelliousness. Not a good place to be! We all go astray from time to time. We all make mistakes. That’s a fact of life here on earth. God doesn’t get angry with us when we are wrong….or in the wrong. He loves us! But, He waits patiently for us to realize we are in a wrong place or have made a mistake; He waits for us to ask for correction. And when we do, He is there to gently guide us into the way we should go.
That’s how a Good Teacher teaches and instructs. From our mistakes, He shows where we went wrong and then guides us into the right way; and from there He allows us to do it again. And, if necessary, again and again. That’s what life on earth is for! Correction until we learn what we need to know. I am not afraid to be corrected….in fact, if I am wrong, I appreciate correction. I want to learn. I want to do things right; and God’s correction is kind and gentle. When life corrects us it can be shocking! A sudden, and unpleasant comeuppance that hurts, stuns and sends us into a tail spin!
Gal. 6:7 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” We say it like this: what goes around, comes around. To keep doing the same things and expect a different outcome is the definition of stupid! But…people don’t want to admit that they have brought their problems upon themselves by their own behaviors and actions. Consequences, the fruit of what we do every day and those consequences come upon us all, no matter how far above everyone else we might believe ourselves to be(as some say and believe…oh, no, that will never happen to me); we all deal with the consequences of our own actions….be they good, or be they bad!
But if we submit ourselves to God, repent and turn away from all the stupid things we do; then He will show us a better way, and do it more gently than would otherwise happen. So…I will seek Him daily and ask for guidance, understanding, wisdom and renewal. Show me a better way, Lord, so that I might be a better person. Like my yard, I want to be clear of all that undergrowth and overgrowth and be free to grow in good ways!
But pruning and cleaning out the under and over growth is not enough. Once all that is done, then starts the retraining, replanting, rebuilding portion. Now that my fence line is clear of the mass of overgrowth it is time to stake up some of the trees, trim off any dead branches and prune those roses way back. Then I will have to weave some of the rose branches into the fence and tie them up so the roses will grow the way I want them to. The ground around the fence is now bare, so along the outside of the fence my sister and I want to build a box and fill it with rock so that it will have a clean, neat and tidy look. There is still a lot of work to be done!
It’s the same in our lives. With correction, comes retraining, redirecting, replanting and working on the right kind of growth. It never stops…life is about change and as for me….I want that change to be the good kind!