Sunday, September 14, 2014

Leanna's fav's #2: Lesson of the Fig Tree

In celebration of the upcoming first birthday of Lines from Leanna, we are celebrating with Leanna's Favorites this week and the most popular posts of the year next week.  I had such a hard time picking the posts that had meant the most to me that I'm posting my favorite devotionals in the morning and the stories that mean the most to me in the evening.

This was the first-ever post for the new blog. It was exciting, frightening, and the "one" that started it all.
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What counts is your life. Is it green and blossoming? Because if it’s deadwood, it goes on the fire.” (Luke 3:9 MSG)

The fig tree at my home has been there for decades. When I first moved there, it bore a few figs, but gradually the yield was less and less. After a few years, there was essentially no yield at all. As the fig count waned, my frustration with the tree grew. Nothing I did helped it. Finally, I just cut it down, nearly to the ground. Imagine my surprise a few years later when Sam, my farm worker, said, "Hey, have you seen that tree you cut down? It's loaded with figs!"

I am not an expert on trees, but it seemed clear to me that all the non-productive parts of that tree needed to go. A severe pruning (to the ground) saved it.

It's easy for us to allow dead wood to accumulate in our lives, isn't it? It's not so much that it looks dead as that its non-productive. When I prune, I lop off the branches that look diseased, but also the ones that don't bear fruit. In our lives, it's not just the sin and hurt (diseased branches) that need to go. Those things in our lives that do not make us more like Jesus or demonstrate the love of Christ to a lost and dying world may need to go too.

Just about anything can be deadwood in our lives. I have a friend who says she didn't have time for Bible study until one day she realized how much time she spent reading the newspaper every morning. When she stopped beginning her day with the news and started it with the Good News through Bible study, she found she had plenty of time for God, and now has a life that bears much fruit for him.

Just about anything can end up being deadwood because it keeps us from doing what Christ intended. Internet browsing, Pinterest, Facebook, shopping can all be good things. They can also be time-stealers that keep us from something better.

What is the deadwood in your life? Take a serious look at your life today and at all the activities you include. Does it make you more like Jesus? Does it demonstrate Christ to a world that is perishing? If not, it's time for some pruning. Choose today to have a life that is "green and blossoming", then do whatever it takes to get there.

Pray today for pruning that yields a tremendous harvest, both in our lives and that of our loved ones.

(c) Leanna Hollis 2013