Yesterday morning I was in the garden. On the boundary of our garden and two others is a fir tree. It is full of ivy growing up the trunk and inhibiting the growth of the tree. Although I have cut back the ivy a bit over the years it is persistent and keeps growing back, to the extent that there is on one side almost more ivy leaves than branches of fir tree. It is time to do something! I have begun to try and expose the ivy as it climbs up the trunk of the fir tree and cut it off. There are some very large branches up to 25 millimetres diameter (quite big for ivy) as well as numerous smaller branches all seem to be entwined around the fir. In some places the growth is just taking over while some of the smaller bits have roots growing right into the trunk and draining the tree of water and nutrients.

Ivy is not of itself a bad thing, I have seen it for sale in garden centres as a decorative plant, but as I have been told over the years a weed is a flower in the wrong place, and wherever ivy grows in our garden I think it is in the wrong place!

As I was spending quite some time, trying to cut back more ivy yesterday, I was struck by the similarity between ivy and our habits. We are all creatures of habit and there is nothing wrong with that. Some habits are good ones, like daily bible reading and prayer, some are less good and can take up a lot our our time for little or no benefit. No one would object to some television, there are some interesting and informative programs, but binge watching of a whole series over 24 hours is excessive in the extreme, but I am told it does happen. The internet is a vast source of information, but please be aware of the source of the material you are about to view, who is the person behind it and what perspective are they coming from? Gaining more knowledge must be good I hear you say, but the outcome was not good for Adam or Eve when they disobeyed God and ate of the tree of knowledge. Any screen of any size can become addictive and detract you from time spent with not just God, but also those nearest and dearest to you.

Perhaps it is good to for us all to cast a glance round the “garden of our lives” every now and then and spot those weeds or habits that you see. Flowers in the wrong place. Little habits that grow into obsessions, that start to eat away at our time, our energy, our very life. Even our life with God. Since the incident in the Garden of Eden man has had to toil to survive and we are still seeing’s the results of it today. Genesis 3: 17-18 (CEV) As long as you live, you will have to struggle to grow enough food. Your food will be plants, but the ground will produce thorns and thistles.

Perhaps it is good to for us all to cast a glance round the “garden of our lives” every now and then and spot those weeds or habits that you see. Flowers in the wrong place. Little habits that grow into obsessions, that start to eat away at our time, our energy, our very life. Even our life with God. Since the incident in the Garden of Eden man has had to toil to survive and we are still seeing’s the results of it today. Genesis 3: 17-18 (CEV) As long as you live, you will have to struggle to grow enough food. Your food will be plants, but the ground will produce thorns and thistles.

Don’t be surprised if you feel that God is ‘pruning’ you. The Holy Spirit encourages us to consider our actions and motives. Every gardener will tell you when pruning you first cut away all the dead unproductive wood, then you look at the good wood and cut that back too! But the objective is much more abundant fruit, the fruit of the Spirit.