Rather, I hate washing dishes.
Love the fact that we have dishes.
Hate that they get dirty.
Hate that I have to wash them every time I use them.
But, you know, this morning when I was washing my pile of dishes – I thought about how God’s grace is very much like washing dishes. Is going to be a weird analogy? Yes, please follow me.
If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, you will know that you are still prone to sin. If you’re not a Christian, I hope this post will demystify some confusion about the Christian’s walk you may have. To set-up, I’m going to go in a slightly odd direction, but stay with me. On Saturday my premarital counseling session was themed around John 15, where Jesus is teaching and refers to Himself as “the true vine” (15:1) We get this beautiful picture of Jesus as the Vine, God as the Vinedresser (or caretaker), and Christians as the branches. We know the branches refer to Christians because the branches in this analogy abide in Jesus (v. 4-5). I was thinking about our session while washing my dishes, there’s your segue for my literary friends.
A very specific thing must happen in the world of gardening for gardeners to pull fruit from their plants. I’m going to let the text speak for itself, “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he [the Father] takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.” (v. 2-3) So Jesus does acknowledge that His branches are already clean, but that simultaneously they need some work – major work. Just like when a tree gets out of control, excessive brush and foliage blocking the production of produce, Christians must still be pruned to look more and more like their Savior. Pruning is painful! Pruning is messy! And, just like dishes, pruning must be done time and again.
Washing dishes, reflecting on these thoughts from premarital counseling, I was amazed at how often I need to wash dishes. They get dirty day in and day out, and day in and day out I have to roll up my sleeves and deal with them. Likewise despite how “clean” we may seem to ourselves, God is constantly running us through the washing process. Through the pruning process. Each time God corrects us, it is a sign of His great love and grace. (Yes, I just took you from dishes to trees to grace.) Hebrews 12: 7-11 discusses why God disciplines His children. “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11)
In short, God disciplines those He loves. Through tender pruning and correction, He is lovingly working all things for our good and His glory. Just like dishes, this process is messy and may very well be repeatedly daily. However, we cannot forget that God’s correction is a great grace in our lives.