I’ve never been much of a gardener. To date, my greatest success at horticulture is the two simi-living plants in my office. They are just barely hanging on, and soon they will be dry sticks if I don’t step up my game.
The crazy thing is that they only require one thing from me–– water, but I’m so bad at giving it to them. My office doesn’t see much rain, so it’s vital I provide the plants with the liquid of life. They must have it, or they will wither and die.
Have you ever seen a plant die? It starts off slow. First, the edges of the leaves turn brown, then the branches start to droop, and the leaves begin to fall off. It’s a slow, subtle process. Finally, the outcome is a dry stick with no life or fruit at all.
The death of a plant is very similar to the spiritual death you can experience in your life if you’re not careful. It starts off slow. First, the edges of our life start turning brown through compromise, the godly standards you once held so dear begin to droop, and then the spiritual disciplines you used to practice start to fall from our lives entirely. Our relationship with Jesus becomes simple lip service, participation in his house becomes an inconvenience, and before you know it your life becomes fruitless and empty.
Spiritual death is a slow, subtle process for most. If you’re not careful, you won’t even know you’re spiritually dead. But the outcome will be the same. You will become a dry stick with no spiritual life or vitality at all.
I don’t think anyone deliberately sets out to die spiritually. It comes from the great enemy, complacency. The plants in my office die because I become complacent in caring for them. You die spiritually when you start becoming complacent in your spiritual growth.
We must stay spiritually green, thriving, and full of fruit.
Here are a few steps you can take to keep your life green and thriving.
Let God be your gardener.
Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” (John 15:1)
God is really, really good at making things grow. Nothing grows without him. So, it stands to reason that when he works in your life, he knows precisely what he’s doing. And unlike me, he’ll give you the perfect amount of spiritual water to make your life vibrant.
Evaluate your life seriously.
Jesus said God “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 fruitful.” (John 15:1-2)
What kind of fruit is coming out of your life? Is it selfish ambition, complacency, or sin? Or is your life producing things that align with the Spirit of God? Things like love, self-control, and a Christ-like lifestyle.
This question can’t be overlooked because the consequences are enormous. If your life isn’t producing fruit that is Christ-like, then “you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” (Matthew 15:6)
If your life hasn’t been Christ-like, now is the perfect time to make the change. You can ask God to cut away anything in your life that would keep you from bearing much fruit for him.
Stay connected to Jesus.
Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Just as the plants in my office can’t survive without me, you cannot survive without being connected to Jesus. Without him having a fruitful life that matters for eternity is impossible.