"...people only harvest what they plant." (Galatians 6:7)
It is now grape harvesting season along the earth's Northern Hemisphere. A warm, sunny day is chosen for the work when the vines are carefully searched and snipped; the good and ripe kept, the rotten and withered tossed, and the un-ripened left alone to grow to fullness. The vine keeper keeps watch until nature's feathered watchmen give the telltale sign: The hovering birds swoop and perch atop the rows eager to feast, giving the signal the time to harvest has come - the fruit is sweet and ready.
The aroma of the field's offering rises into the air and gives the flocks an irresistible invitation: Come! Eat what is good and plenty and ripe for the taking! When thinking on this magnetic pull between the bird and the vine, I reflect on my life asking, "What aroma does my life give?" Am I offering the world around me something lovely, pleasant, and sweet, or someone that is a bit sour and uncomely?
"But the Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." (Galatians 5:22-23 NCV)
What a delicious and fragrant bounty! The world reaps deep goodness grown by those intent on abiding on The Vine that nourishes complete; without any lack whatsoever. As I allow this list of fruit to soak into my spirit, I am nudged and spurred to prune my life's often twisted, acrid-pungent vine.
I get gently led by the Vine-keeper of my soul to weed out those things that choke and starve the good growth - like my thorny impatience, sour selfishness and bitter sarcasm. Just when I want to throw a fit and get my own way yet again, God reminds in hushed tones "Daughter, remember to abide and just who you are in Me and in My strength."
"I am the vine, and you are the branches. If any remain in me and I remain in them, they produce much fruit. But without me they can do nothing." (John 15:5 NCV)
Oh yes, that's right. I grab hold of His hand once again. Together, we get out the pruning shears and begin to snip away at the bruised and rotting things that cling, making room for what is good. This is not a punishment. Far from it - it is a loving, mercy-act of God helping me stay in the light and away from the shadowy places that can ensnare and rot me out and while they are at it, my relationships with others.
As I allow Him to clear out the prickly bramble, new and fresh things grow and attract the beautiful. Just as the birds flock to the sweet crops each Autumn, I notice a similar thing. People want to be around me more after the clearing - and I humbly offer up gratitude to the One helping me grow.
New friendships are formed and new opportunities to nourish others are birthed through abiding on the Vine of true life - a very good crop indeed.
Question: What is clinging to your spirit today that Christ can help prune to allow for good things to grow in its place?