Oh, the pain of being pruned and weeded
"Sir, leave [the fig tree] alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it.
If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down."
~ Luke 13:8-9
Lent is a season of repentance. It is a season for us to be sorry for our past sins and turn to God for forgiveness. Yet I think a better word for Lent is metanoia. The Greek word metanoia, means “to change one's way of life through penitence or spiritual conversion.” Throughout these forty days, Jesus calls us to examine our lives, to repent of our sins, and to turn back to him. He uses the parable of the gardener and the fig tree to illustrate that he is always patiently waiting for us and working in us to turn back to him.
Jesus is the Eternal Gardener. He prunes away the dead and dying branches in us. He pulls up the weeds that choke our ability to reach up to him. Being pruned and weeded is difficult, though. It involves sacrifice, letting go of those things that keep us from bearing good fruit for Christ. It is painful because we have to face the darkness and wrestle with the shadows within us. As Christ shines his light into the depths of our souls, we are painfully blinded. It takes time to adjust the eyes of our soul to the blinding Light of Christ.
But as Jesus prunes and weeds our lives, he also fertilizes and cultivates our roots to nourish and nurture our growth. Jesus invites us into deeper prayer. When we pray in silence, in meditation on Scripture, in pouring our heart out to Christ, we open our hearts to allow the Holy Spirit to enter into us more deeply. The more we turn our hearts to Christ in prayer, the deeper the Holy Spirit will enter into us. The deeper the Holy Spirit enters into us, the more we will be cultivated to produce the fruits of peace, joy, hope, and love. We will become more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, generous, gentle, faithful, and disciplined.
Lord, show me what branches you want to prune from my life,
what weeds you desire to pull up from my soul.
Till the soil of my heart.
Cultivate and fertilize me with your love and goodness.
May my life bear good fruit for your eternal glory.