Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Trees Must Be Pruned . . .

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus refers to the Church* as a tree/plant on several occasions. I believe Paul does in Galatians, and it's likely done through the rest of the epistles as well, i just can't think of where at the moment (i'm feeling groggy today; sue me).

I think it's interesting that the Church should be referred to as a tree or a plant.
Firstly, because we're grafted into Christ (that's a link to a post on my other blog). Grafting is what you do with a weak plant/tree or one not native to the area, so that it can produce fruit and grow and be sustained through the rootstock.

There's another reason i think this is interesting. People think about Christianity as always happy, do-no-wrong, holier-than-thou people who meet on Sundays . . . We put this idea of a Christian in sitcoms as comedic relief, mocking real Christians. I've never met a real Christian that was like any of those fictionalized representations. It's gotten to the point that a lot of people, upon finding out i'm a Christian, automatically think i say "diddly" instead of a curse word, and that i'm boring and ignorant to pain in life. I do use cheesy phrases to replace cuss words (haven't cussed since i was, like, six, and only did then because i'd heard it on TV--not saying that makes me a better person, just that i don't think there's a need for them), and i may be boring. But don't think for a minute that, just because i put on a smile, that i don't feel misery or get upset. My closest friends and family can tell you that i get very upset, and that i have issues with anger. Life isn't fun. It's not supposed to be. I'm not supposed to have smile on my face at all times--Jesus got mad, Jesus got upset, Jesus got sad. In fact, the shortest verse in the Bible, John 11:35, says simply "Jesus wept." I'm not supposed to be void of negative emotions. I am, however, supposed to find some sort of relief in the fact that trials lead to glory (as Romans 5 lines out).
This is getting rather off-topic, but people have this skewed idea of Christianity that is so far from the genuine thing it's become a joke. Even Christians have this idea of it.
Christians have this image in their head of going to church on Sunday and being saved through attendance alone. Attendance does nothing for the soul. Attendance is a facade, a false hope. Until we stop treating worship as a ritual, we're never going to mature or grow. As said in Matthew 7:22-23, we'll approach Him and try to build ourselves up in His eyes, boasting of things we've done, yet He'll tell us to depart from Him for He never knew us. Never. We will be cut off from Him, severed, turned away, culled . . .
Like a branch on a tree that has a worm, it must be cut off before infecting the rest of the plant.
He is the vine. He is the root, the heart, the mind, the being of the Church. We're merely the branches. Branches that don't produce must be cut off so that others can grow.
I find it quite interesting that the Church is like a tree or a plant in such ways. A lot of us are going to be in for a shock when the time comes . . .
In a flock, if an animal comes down with TB, it is culled. The infected animal is removed from the flock, often disposed of. After that, the entire herd must be tested for the disease, and each infected animal quarantined . . . Destroyed. For the good of the whole. We are His flock, He our Shepherd.
I often find myself looking around, wondering how many will be culled when the day comes. I often look in the mirror and wonder if i will be. I pray that such is not the case -i have faith such is not the case- but if it serves to sustain the health of the whole then that is what must be done. Until the day i'm called Home, i'm going to be striving for my place, trying my best to not fail Him, doing all i can to earn the title "child of God" (i know the title is impossible for me to earn and that He granted it to me through His sacrifice, i will nevertheless do everything in my power to try to earn it--just because i can't doesn't mean i can't try to be worth).
If you've read all of this, i appreciate your time.
Watch out for sugared-water.

*not the building or the Sunday meeting--i feel the need to clarify this every time i mention the real "Church". When i capitalize the word, i'm referring to the Body of Christ; when i don't, i'm referring to a building.

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