IMG_6878For whatever reason, I have walked by this trailing vine of pansies that was slowly turning yellow for weeks.  I do know the simple 101 of gardening.  You should always remove any unhealthy foliage and dead blooms. Since I like my flower pots to overflow with trailing vines, somehow in my mind I thought the removal of this slowly dying vine would change the appearance of the overflowing fullness. Honestly, what good was a dying yellow vine?  It only threatens the health of the rest of the plant.

This has been a week of taking risk for me in many aspects.   So yesterday while I was watering my plants, I decided it was time for the dying yellow vine to go.  It reminded me of a spiritual application that Jesus taught his disciples right before His arrest in the garden.

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser. “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.”  John 15 1-2

By nature I am a “people pleaser“.  I want everyone to like me and to be liked by everyone.  So it weighs on me when there is a strain on a relationship…especially if there is unfinished business.  To be honest, there have been times I should have went a step further and tried to seek resolution as taught in Matthew 18 and didn’t.  Then there have been times that I did go a step further to resolve and unfortunately there was refusal, ignorance and unwillingness (you know the sweep it under the rug and let’s pretend this thing never happened).

As I am “working out my salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12), I have learned that often times those relationships who refuse to work through conflict biblically were just “dead” weight.  They were superficial.  They had to go because ultimately they were unhealthy.  It was not God’s best for me and needed to be removed.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  For the JOY set before him he ENDURED the cross, scorning its SHAME, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such OPPOSITION from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart”. Hebrews 12: 1-3

As taught in Hebrews, we need to “throw off EVERYTHING that hinders us”.   This unfortunately could include a relationship that may cause you to sin, stumble and ultimately threaten your spiritual health. If we keep our eyes focused on Jesus despite what opposition may come our way, we can have JOY even during the removal of relationships.   Consider this time of pruning as preparation for a harvest of healthy fruit and relationships.

Don’t grow weary, friends! (Galatians 6:9)  You just never know where you may be planted after a little pruning and water…just one day later!