I look toward the window to see my small, potted ivy. Some leaves are healthy and grass-green, but others are withering, dying. I see the edges turning brown and holes where the leaf should be one.
I water it, give it extra light, walk away. I expect the brown leaves to heal themselves, and the green ones to grow greener.
It doesn’t grow; it doesn’t heal. Extra leaves are turning brown, and they look to be choking the green leaves, the ones that are still striving to do what I left them there to do. They’re trying with all of their might, but instead of healing, they’re ever so slowly failing.
I become frustrated. I give it more water; I give it more sunlight, more warmth. Every day I find the same condition, maybe worse. But, I’m giving it all it needs.
A last-resort thought comes: I’m not taking away what it doesn’t need. It’s suffocating. I’ll cut away the withering leaves and give it a chance to breathe.
So, I do just that.
I look toward the window to see my small, potted ivy. All of the leaves are healthy and grass-green! They’re breathing, beautiful. It’s grown taller in the past couple of weeks.
I give it more water, more sunlight, and none is wasted. It isn’t suffocating; it isn’t dying.
When I look at my soul, what do I see? I may look toward my soul and see healthy, grass-green leaves, God’s goodness and light, thriving in an environment that’s ready to process and grow.
I may look toward my soul and see brown edges and holes, blatant sin that I shrug away, that I conveniently ignore, all the while saying, “those brown edges will heal themselves if I give them more of Water, more Light,”
“the green, healthy soul-leaves will be fine if I leave a little brown behind. They’re strong enough to manage.”
More light piled in with more dark.
I don’t grow; I don’t heal. Extra soul-leaves are turning brown; they look to be choking the green leaves, the ones that are still striving to do what I left them there to do. They’re trying with all of their might, but instead of healing, they’re ever so slowly failing.
Once more, I become frustrated. I give my soul more Water, more Light. Every day I find the same condition, maybe worse.
But, I don’t understand,
I’m giving it all it needs!
I look toward the window and see my thriving ivy. A last-resort thought comes: I haven’t taken away what my soul doesn’t need. It’s suffocating among brown-edged, deeply cut sins.
I have to remove them; I have to give my soul a proper chance to breathe,
a real chance to surivive.
I begin cutting away at my sin. So, I give my soul more Water, more Light, and I cut some more. I now look toward my soul and see buds!
My soul is ready, and it’s growing.
It takes the Water and the Light, and it grows — none is wasted anymore. My soul isn’t choking. It isn’t suffocating.
This is one way I look at repentance and growing in Christ — in fact it’s a concept God Himself teaches.
We’re each much like a plant. All plants require particular environments in order to thrive. The ivy couldn’t handle one pot with the much disease and life all combined, some flowers can’t be potted with anything else because they don’t share nutrients well, most plants can’t handle extreme temperatures; yet, they must all be watered, and they must all have access to light.
We require water and Light from Jesus. But, before we start trying to add new virtues, we must examine ourselves in an effort to find anything to cut away.
And then cut it.
If we want a chance to survive, we must first learn how to thrive.
See Galatians 5, Matthew 13, Ephesians 4:17-32
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