Yesterday I started sharing the lesson I did for the ladies last Wednesday evening. I spoke about the verse from Isaiah 27:6 –
He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root:
Israel shall blossom and bud,
and fill the face of the world with fruit.
We talked about “taking root.”
Taking root is just the beginning. The next step is to grow and…
2) Blossom and Bud
I don’t know a lot about gardening, but watching my dad garden when I was growing up taught me a couple of important things that will help a plant blossom and bud to its fullest.
I remember Daddy pinching off “suckers” on his tomato plants. Do you know what a sucker is? Its a little “branch” that grows between two bigger branches on a plant. Daddy said these suckers would stunt the growth of the fruit on the plant because the plant would work at growing all these branches, instead of concentrating on the ones that would produce blooms, which would in turn feed and grow delicious fruit or veggies.
Suckers may make the plant look fuller, but it also keeps it from growing bigger and better fruit.
Let’s take this illustration and apply it to our Christian lives. Can you think of any “suckers” in your life that may be keeping you from growing and producing fruit like Christ wants you to? I believe this is an important step for us as Christians, to be able to recognize the “suckers” – the enemy – in our lives.
What comes to your mind? Is the Lord pointing out anything to you? Have you allowed things – even little things – to grow in your life that is keeping you from bearing much fruit?
When you bend down to look at your life, like you would bend down to examine a plant, do you see:
are you submitted to the authority God has given you?
are there friends/family that are discouraging you from doing right?
are there people that are a bad influence?
On and on we could go.
It might not even be a bad thing, but its something that is keeping you from having the walk with God that you should. If it is, get that sucker out of you life!
Get in God’s Word and let it – let Him – show you the suckers and with His help, prune them out!
Perhaps you don’t have suckers…maybe you have a “bug” or “worm” or “blight” that’s attacking your plant…attacking your spiritual life.
Whatever your enemy is, it is very crucial to learn to recognize it – its so important!
There is one “bug” that I want to mention…its a bug that is creeping in the church today and I wonder if we even recognize it? (Actually, its not a new bug…its been around for hundreds of years, but I think it changes its looks, so we don’t recognize it as quickly).
It’s the bug of discord and contention that Satan uses in the church between brothers and sisters in Christ. One man of God said,
The most successful strategy of the devil to weaken the thrust of the movement of God is to introduce contention among God’s children. He is particularly careful to see that minor differences and misunderstandings are magnified out of all proportion and that mistakes and failings, which should be quickly forgiven and forgotten, become festering sores in the body of Christ.
The devil is a liar – he has been from the very beginning! Remember Eve in the garden?? Oh how easily we forget! Oh why do we forget??
Instead of looking at your brother or sister in Christ as your enemy, recognize who the real enemy is! Ephesians 6:12 tells us that we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood! I don’t know about you, but I have to remind myself of that – too often, I’m afraid!
God’s people are not my enemy!! They are not who I am fighting against!! Yes, you and I will get hurt by a brother or sister in Christ – and yes, it really does hurt! – but they are not my real enemy!! The devil wants to use that situation or that person to get my mind off the real battle, off the real enemy and think –
Oh, I can’t believe that they said about me!
Hmmm…wonder why she didn’t talk to me this morning?…she’s probably mad at me…
I wonder why…
It’s probably because…
The devil wants to sow contention and discord among the body of Christ and lessen our influence and affect to those around us. Always being aware of that will really help!
Is someone irritating you? Remind yourself – “They are not my enemy!!”
They really aren’t!
You will get hurt!! Guaranteed!
“Welcome to the ‘Hurt Club‘!”
But can you take it to the Lord – pinch that sucker of bitterness out! – right away!! When it first shows its ugly head (or should I say, grows its first little root)! And pray, “God, I’m really hurting. What so and so did was really mean and it hurt deeply…but they aren’t my real enemy and that’s not what I’m here to do, to fight against them…” Pour your heart out to God! He will help you!
So as you’re pinching out the suckers and getting rid of the bugs and things that hurt your growth, you also need to add some things to grow better fruit.
This may sound simplistic (the longer you’re here and read my posts, the more you’ll see that I’m just a simple kind of girl! 😉 ), but two things that you especially need to grow and bloom like you should is Bible-reading and prayer time. It is as essential as sunshine and rain for a plant. So so necessary!! Without them your growth and fruit will be stunted, and eventually you will die (spiritually) without them.
You must have a daily time with God. You must!
Christians who fall away and quit have first taken the “sunshine and rain” out of their life. They have set aside these two things as if they were not necessary – but they are!! And our enemy wants nothing more than to keep us from bearing fruit and to be barren. He’ll do anything to stop our daily quiet time with God. Anything.
I mentioned before that I had about 4 years that were pretty dark for me. I don’t know if it was hormonal issues, or what it was…but I do know that the only thing that kept me from not quitting was spending time with the Lord – every day.
Maybe you’re going through a difficult time and you feel like you’re not really doing good or growing, but let me encourage you to stay in God’s Word and keep praying (whether you’re “feelin’ it” or not!)! Do it! Every day! Just like you can’t watch a plant grow, you can’t see yourself grow. You may think it’s not helping, but you’ll be able to look back and see how the Lord helped you and you will be so glad you didn’t quit!
I have a list of things that I pray over for my family and one of the things that’s on that list is that we will live in light of eternity. Its not really all about “us” and “now” – its about God and eternity! Let’s live with that in mind and we won’t be disappointed when we stand before God one day.
Blossoming and budding…to eventually bear fruit for God and His glory!
Stay tuned for the last part of this lesson…coming soon! 😉