I do not have a green thumb.
My mom was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, in July of 2015. She has been in some type of hospital or nursing home facility for about seven months now. During these seven months she has received several house plants. Unfortunately my mom cannot care for these plants because she has been on bed rest all this time.
Since my mom cannot care for the plants they have been given a life sentence. They have been sent home with me. Poor plants.
Now, I like plants, but I don’t have what you call a green thumb. I have the opposite of a green thumb – the thumb of death.
The day I brought the plants home with me, my parents told me, “All you have to do is water them once a week.” Sounds easy enough.
But yall, I’m a busy person. And now, with at least one day a week being spent in Houston, two hours away from home with my mom, I am more busy than normal. Some days I look at those poor wilting plants and think, “I have to water them.” Then three or four days later, when I still haven’t watered them, the plants look like they are dying of thirst. Eventually I force myself to water them in the five minutes it takes, and viola, they spring back to life. It’s amazing what a little water can do for a plant!
A couple of months ago I was preparing to speak to a group of middle school students and it hit me. Most of the time all we need is a little water too!
The illustration I gave the group of middle schoolers was a pitiful plant and a bottle of water. I actually brought one of the super wilty orchids from home and asked what it needed. Their reply was, “water!” Then I set a bottle of water next to the plant and asked if that would help…of course the bottle of refreshing, life-giving water NEXT to the plant would not help one bit! The plant needs the water on the inside, not just all around it!
In John 15:1 Jesus says, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener.” Then He goes on to say in verses 5-8, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.”
How? How do we do this? How do we, “remain in Him”? We have to get Him on the inside of us, not just all around us!
If I were to ask your friends if you were a disciple of Christ how would they respond?
In case you are wondering, here’s a definition:
Christian disciple – a follower of Jesus, who becomes more and more like Jesus through a life of faith and obedience
Wait a minute, so being a Christian disciple doesn’t mean all we have to do is go to church?
The answer is no.
Going to church is great, but that’s not what makes a Christian more like Christ.
To become like Christ we have to do just that, become like Christ.
What are things we do when we hang out with our closest friends? Those are the exact same things we need to do with Jesus. Because like it or not, we become more and more like those we spend our time with. If we want a refreshing, life-giving dose of Jesus in our life, we need to have a relationship with Him.
If one of my closest friends stops by my house, I try my hardest to give them my undivided attention. If they stopped by to tell me a story or to tell me what is going on in their life, I listen. If they came by to check on me because I have been out of pocket or I just haven’t been myself lately, I open up and tell them what is going on. We spend time together. It would be crazy if one of my closest friends came to my house and we ignored each other the whole time we were together! But often that’s how we treat Jesus.
We take our relationship with our Savior for granted. We don’t spend good quality time with Him. We ignore Him. When He wants to talk to us, we are too busy. We have things on our heart that we never share with Him. Our relationship with Jesus should be our top priority, but instead it gets pushed to the side or ignored altogether.
How that must break God’s heart.
The good news is that if this sounds like you, if you have not been making your relationship with Jesus a priority, it’s not too late. Stop making excuses. Turn off the TV, shut down the iPad or computer, put your phone down. Set your alarm to go off a few minutes earlier then normal during the week. Wake up early on Sunday mornings to get you and your family ready for church. Do whatever you need to do so that Jesus gets inside of you and isn’t just all around you. Get connected!
I realize that for some of you this getting connected thing is a foreign concept. Here is a quick list of three things that will benefit anyone wanting a deeper relationship with Jesus:
- Find a healthy church to attend regularly and get involved. Sign up for a small group (sometimes referred to as a life group). Volunteer to serve on a ministry team. Form friendships with other like-minded individuals who desire to have a relationship with Jesus.
- Read in your Bible daily. Not all day/every day, but read in your Bible every day. There are lots and lots of various resources out there to help you get into God’s Word: study Bibles, Bible studies, devotionals, on-line devotionals. Find a Bible bookstore near you or search online (lifeway.com or christianbook.com are great places to start). You can also search the app store on your smartphone. You will be amazed at the resources you have at your fingertips!
- Pray every day. This seems to be difficult for so many people. You cannot imagine how many times people have told me they don’t pray because they don’t pray well. When you pray you’re talking to God. He doesn’t expect big, fancy, religious words. He just wants to hear what is on your heart, in your mind, and quite honestly, He’s God so He already knows, but He loves hearing it from you personally. So talk to Him. Talk His ear off!