Thursday, May 31, 2012


           A few weeks ago, I was helping my brother remove some vines that had overtaken the bushes outside our driveway.  Those things were tough!  Vines have a way of wrapping themselves around and around bushes, fences, trees, or almost any other standing object.  They grow at a very rapid pace and will eventually choke out the trees or bushes they have entangled.  Pulling out those vines made me think about life.  If we don't catch potentially harmful actions, thoughts, or habits at the beginning (when they first sprout), they can eventually grow into big problems in our lives.  Take television for example: you might let a cuss word slip by once in a while without turning it off, then you allow more and more in until you become calloused to it, and the next thing you know, a word slips out of your mouth and you wonder why you would say such a thing.  Imagine how other sins and addictions start entwining themselves into your life and steadily choke out those moral standards you once held dear.  I think of the parable of the sower in Matthew 13.  The sower had some seeds that he was spreading.  "Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants" (Matt. 13:7).  "The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful" (verse 22).  Concerning ourselves with the things of this world can easily keep us away from the things God wants us to do.  When we allow habits, addictions, worries, or worldly values to control us, we will not be able to pray, witness to others, or worship God as He has called us to do. 

            Jesus said, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."  (John 15:1-2,4-5)  So, there is a vine we should allow to flourish.  God uses challenging situations in our lives to help us grow in Him.  Instead of allowing circumstances or sins to overtake us, we should turn back to the One we take root in and allow Him to help us bear fruit in those situations.  Here are a few examples of how people take root in God:

            *"His delight is in the law of the Lord; and on His law he meditates day and night." (Ps. 1:2)

            *"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise." (Prov. 11:30)

            *"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ  Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires." (Gal. 5:22-24)

Of course, there are plenty of other examples, but part of taking root in God involves studying these topics on your own.  "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer," study God's Word, and don't allow yourself to become entangled in the vines of this world!

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