Life Lessons, Pt. 4: So Long, Suckers!
My friend, Mary Beth, came over to help me plant my first garden. As we were planting the tomatoes, she explained to me that tomato plants could have what are described as "suckers" on them. These are shoots directly between the stem and a more developed branch that take the water and energy from the main plant and create a bushier plant that is more susceptible to bugs and disease. When you pull them off, it allows all the water and energy to focus its attention on the main plant so that it will grow taller.
Now I know from research that this can be one way to deal with suckers, but it teaches a valuable life lesson. These suckers are part of the plant but take up resources that the plant's body desperately needs to thrive. The same is true in our own lives. I don't know how many times I have heard people (and honestly, myself at times) say, "That's just the way I am – deal with it." But that is not Scriptural.
A new sucker on my tomato plant
We were designed to grow spiritually, reaching for the Son and being watered by the Word. When we allow our flesh to grow and subvert resources meant to facilitate said growth, instead of a plant that glorifies God, we attract the bugs and diseases that can eventually overtake and ruin us. That is why we must continually evaluate our lives to see what we are allowing to grow. Psalms 119:59-60 states, "I thought about my ways, and turned my feet to Your testimonies. I made haste and did not delay to keep Your commandments." Likewise, Lamentations 3:40 tells us, "Let us examine and probe our ways, and let us return to the Lord."
Scripture tells us to examine and think about how we go and grow. By allowing unholy characteristics to flourish in our lives, we make way for the enemy to come in and sabotage our growth. This takes work, and at times, seems contrary to the goal of being fruit-bearers. However, we must take heed lest we fall (I Cor. 10:12). As Paul admonished the Corinthians in his second letter, "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves – that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you are disqualified" (2 Cor. 13:5).
Can I encourage you today to examine your life and remove the "suckers" that stubbornly hold fast to the stem? Where are the parts of your flesh that need to be snapped off so that you can grow up in the Lord? You can do it with the help of the Master Gardener. He is patient. He desires that you be fruitful.
Father, I want to be fruitful. I desire to see the multiplication of Spirit life in me. Help me to exercise discernment and judgment over my life so that when things pop up that are of the flesh that fosters an environment conducive for the enemy, I quickly eliminate it so that I mature in You. I love You and want to grow into every purpose and plan You have destined for Me. In Jesus' Name, amen.