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Why our Lenten growth should not be painful
"He said to him in reply, “Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.”
Growth can be painful, but it doesn’t have to be. And in the season of Lent, growth is exactly what we are supposed to be focusing on.
This kind of growth is not a self-serving growth, but a growth in furtherance of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Each of us, in our own unique way, is called to deliver the Good News, to repent, and to turn our faces back to God.
In the gospel reading for today, Jesus describes a gardener salvaging a fig tree with words like “cultivate” and “fertilize.” These are not words of pain, but instead words of compassion and love. God does not want our growth to be painful during Lent, and it won’t be if we let Him do the work that He needs to do in each of us.
For me, this Lent has been about finding my voice. As God cultivated the ground around me and fertilized me, I began to find it easier to speak up and speak out in areas of injustice.
God is growing us for mission, and if we are not producing fruit, we must turn back to Him, repent, and allow Him to show us how.
This is not God’s chastisement, this is God’s mercy.
If we allow God in, allow God to grow us, knowing that what we are experiencing is for Him and for the purpose He sent us, it will allow us to view our Lenten growth as joyful rather than painful. We must let God in to do the work in us that we need, in order to be the person Christ created us to be. Once we allow Him to do the work on the inside, then we are able to do the work He sent us to do on the outside in the world, our real mission field.