Summer:) There may be a few more days until it is official (on the calendar) and our temperatures lately have been rather spring-like, but in the yard (and in my mind!), it is summer. Everything is blooming and oh so pretty! Well,I am still waiting for the crape myrtle to really show off all her beauty, but everything else is in full bloom glory! It is hard to pick a favorite. I love my geraniums. My husband really likes petunias…not exactly my favorite but they do add a lot of color. I do, however, love the hydrangeas!! Love them. And even they are blooming! When we take walks in the evening, I’m the one oohing and ahhing at all the different colored hydrangea blooms throughout the neighborhood. Yea, that’s me.
The familiarity of the seasons has been comforting lately. With all the heaviness as well as all the turmoil – the uncertainty of “what next”?? – the arrival of summer, and all that is familiar with it, has been not only reassuring but actually calming to my spirit. God certainly works through nature:) I have also been reminded of truth and scriptural lessons lately.
Just as I expect the hydrangeas to bloom, Christ expects us – His children – to bear fruit. To bloom, if you will. Yes, the flowers in my yard bring me joy. I anticipate the huge blooms of color. But I also expect flowers. I assume the hydrangeas will bloom rather than simply wondering if this will be a year of flowers. And God’s word does not suggest that bearing fruit might be a nice idea, nor does God simply hope this might be a good season of fruit-bearing for us. He expects us to do so.
John 15:5 and 8 “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”
Bearing fruit – blooming – is a natural result of a Christian who is abiding in Christ. There have many seasons where I tried so hard (read that: worked hard in my own flesh) to produce fruit in order to prove – to myself and to others – that I was abiding in Him. My desire for fruit was not necessarily wrong but I was going about it backward. All that was required on my part was to abide in Christ. The beautiful blooms, or fruit, would follow naturally. Abiding in Christ is having hearts, minds, and lives fixed on Him. Having close fellowship with Christ and enjoying His presence. I want to be careful to say that while abiding in Christ is natural for a child of God – for those who are saved – it is not what saves us….but rather a result of salvation. Trying to do “all the things” cannot save us any more than they produce fruit – apart from Jesus.
As well, if several seasons come and go (or just a single season) and my life has been fruitless, it is time for examination. I would do the same with my roses, my crape myrtle or my hydrangeas. If at the end of summer there had not been a single flower, I would be looking for a cause. And then doing whatever was necessary to assure blooms again next year. I need to be as careful and scrutinous with my own life.
One last lesson from the hydrangeas:) On our walk last night, I noticed the neighbor’s hydrangeas. They were awash in bright blue blooms!! So full and gorgeous – and, yes, I was oohing and ahhing like a school girl!! I wondered out loud why my plants never quite look like that?! Mine bloom but are not nearly as big or, seemingly, quite as blue. Oh,the nasty comparison trap! It catches me even while enjoying the flowers. Sigh. Oh, but God is not comparing. Thank-you. He enjoys our abiding with Him and is pleased when we bear fruit, but He is not comparing each of our fruits! Isn’t that encouraging? I think it is. What a wonderful Heavenly Father we have.
John 15:7 (in the middle of the verses above) says “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” Oh the gifts, the indescribable joy, the promises, and the abundant life that is ours when we abide in Him!!