Analogies and illustrations are good to help us get a handle on the things we don’t fully understand. When trying to explain the things of God, most of our analogies break down–many sooner rather than later. For instance, I (along with a host of other preachers) have tried to use a variety of word pictures to help us and our friends understand the concept of the Trinity. I’ve heard the Triune God explained by referencing the roles that a man might have in life (father, son, husband, brother), but that is inadequate because the persons of the Trinity are not aspects, but persons, of the Trinity. So, then we turn to nature–and the egg. In trying to explain God’s nature we say that an egg has three parts–yolk, whites, and shell–and we know God in three ways: Father, Son, and Spirit. Problem: the eggs are parts of a whole, the persons are all of the all that is God–all the time unique, all the time one, and all the time One God.

I throw this at you, not to confuse you before we get to the point, but to remind myself as much as anything that the following is an attempt at creating an analogy that will help illustrate a difficult concept–namely fully trusting in Christ.

Here is what Jesus said: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15.1-5, ESV)

I have a friend who likes to grow plants–flowering plants, edibles, just anything in the garden. Personally, I find that my expertise in growing plants was rendered void when I was born. So, this friend was a pretty good gardener to begin with, but then he discovered a wonder product: Miracle-Gro(r). He always produces larger, tastier vegetables, and beautiful more vibrant flowers regardless of what he plants. What is his secret? If you ask him, he’ll look at you with all sincerity and reply, “Miracle Growth It!”

Consider this, the only way to grow a proper Christian life is to remain connected to Christ (from whom we get our name Christian). Turn if you would to another of his parables (read it in Mark 4.1-20). In this example, Jesus even tells the disciples that the word of God is the seed, and the focus is on the different types of soil that receive the seed. It is interesting to note that several of the varieties of soil show some signs of growth, but the only soil that bears fruit is the “good soil.” Is it good by itself? Actually, I would suggest that it has been prepared.

Living in farming country, I’ve noticed that when the farmers want to get the best return for their planting season, they treat the ground–using one kind of treatment for corn and another for soybeans, and yet another for wheat. I think that for us to be good soil, we also need to be prepared. And the only preparation that will make us good soil for the word of God to produce fruit from is Jesus. Look back at our focus from John’s gospel. The way to bear fruit is to be saturated in Jesus Christ (“abide in the vine”). The only way for our soil to be fruitful soil is to have the proper additive (Jesus Christ). He is our Miracle-Gro.

It almost sounds simplistic, but we often find it more difficult to achieve than we would like to think. We say, “I prayed a prayer, I received Christ.” But we neglect to admit that we think that we can do it (as my five-year-old says) by ourselves! The reality is that we cannot do it all by ourselves. Salvation only comes through Jesus Christ. And living the Christian life is not something that we try/strive to do and hope we get it right. That is yet another thing that we can only do when Christ saturates our lives. So let’s take a moment to “Miracle Growth” our lives. Saturate yourself with Jesus and let the fruit grow–bigger and better than ever!

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