Today was gardening day. Most plants don’t grow during the winter … but weeds do. So, it was out with the small spade and fork, the broom and rake, the sheep shears, the little shovel and weed remover. I must say, it was enjoyable. Between the log rock garden and the main flower bed, I filled up five green bags with weeds, dead ground cover, trimmings from the hibiscus trees and other plants. Once I had the weeds and other items no longer needed removed, I needed to loosen the soil to aerate it, and in certain areas I removed plants and ground cover and replanted them elsewhere. Although I gave the entire garden a heavy dose of water, the chances are that the plants I moved might not take. I hope they do, but I realize that plants don’t like to be moved and often die.
In Ezekiel chapter 17, The prophet Ezekiel is told to set forth an allegory/parable to the Israelites (chapter 17:2) about them being an adulterous wife to God (chapter 16) and to tell them that the Babylonian exile is fast approaching:
Eze 17:7 “‘But there was another great eagle with powerful wings and full plumage. The vine now sent out its roots toward him from the plot where it was planted and stretched out its branches to him for water. 8 It had been planted in good soil by abundant water so that it would produce branches, bear fruit and become a splendid vine.’
9 “Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Will it thrive? Will it not be uprooted and stripped of its fruit so that it withers? All its new growth will wither. It will not take a strong arm or many people to pull it up by the roots. 10 Even if it is transplanted, will it thrive? Will it not wither completely when the east wind strikes it—wither away in the plot where it grew?'”
Even though the prophet was using this as a teaching tool for Israel, transplanting plants don’t always work. When Jesus’ disciples were concerned about how Jesus addressed the Pharisees because of their legalistic approach, He responded:
Mt 15:13 “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.”
Religious people might not be Christian people, and their fate will be sealed by being uprooted!
As I thought about this, I was reminded that every person convicted of sin who truly repents and truly receives Jesus Christ as Saviour, Lord and King, is transplanted from the kingdom of this world into the Kingdom of God’s Son, whom He loves. One of the most wonderful and comforting passages in all the Bible must be Ephesians 2:
Eph 2:1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Another comforting Bible passage is 1 Peter 1:3-5:
1Pe 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
Look at what happens when the transplant out of the world and into God’s family happens. First, a true transplant never fails, because Jesus said:
Jn 10:28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.
Second, a true transplant always flourishes–the Holy Spirit sees to this.
Rom 5:5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
See that word “poured’? Think it through.
Eph 1:13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
See that … you are sealed by the Holy Spirit!
Third, A true transplant always serves:
Eph 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
1Co 12:4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
Fourth, A true transplants always produces fruit. And the fruit I speak of is not just the desire for holiness and righteousness but the practice of holiness and righteousness. No finger of blame must point our way. Then there is the fruit of the Spirit:
Gal 5:22 the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.
And this list is not exhaustive. Which fruits can you add?
Dear God, thank You for uprooting me from this world and all it stands for and replanting me into the glorious Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. Help me to shine for You wherever I am to be found, for Jesus’s sake. Amen.