As children of God, we have the high honor of being free to barge into Abba’s “office” any time and interrupt Him. This was yesterday’s topic. Today we’re going outside to the garden to see what’s happening there.
Isaiah 61:1,2 is the passage Jesus used to introduce His ministry to the world. Verse 3 ends with this:
“That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord,
that He may be glorified.
Now you know what we’re doing in the garden. 😉
Gardening terminology as it pertains to the believer is not an isolated topic here and there. The Bible uses it quite a bit. A couple of examples would be “I am the Vine, you are the branches,” and “He shall be like a tree planted by rivers of water…”
Or this one:
What after all is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe – as the Lord has assigned each his task.
I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.
So neither he who plants or he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. (1 Corinthians 3:5-7)
There you have it. You’re a plant!
The day the seed of the Holy Spirit was placed in your heart, you received all the DNA of your spiritual maturity. It’s all there, waiting to be fully developed.
Now, a farmer can’t put life into a seed. He can only plant it. However, he must actively water it and weed if anything is to come of that initial act. If he fails to do these things, he will starve and go bankrupt!
The farmer who thinks he is the source of life is foolish.
He can neither cause the seed to grow…or determine the kind of plant it will become. If he plants a watermelon seed, that’s what he will get…watermelons, and not tomatoes.
The seed that was planted in you is the Holy Spirit. That means you will, in time, develop the Fruit of the Spirit.
God is responsible for the type of seed,
but we have some responsibility as well.
In fact, there are two things we must do if we are going to grow and develop properly: Water/fertilize and weed.
We know that the Word is referred to as water (“Washing with the water of the Word” from Ephesians 5). Therefore, we understand that the Word is a vital part of our regular regime.
There are other things we need to apply as well: people, places, disciplines, and things that nurture our relationship with God.
We need godly friends and mentors.
We need to gather together for fellowship in a congregation of some sort. If not an organized church, then a home church. Not just for yourself, by the way – you are needed by the body.
We must develop the disciplines of spending time with the Lord, soaking in His Word, communicating with Him; and one thing we certainly need is a Bible!
All these things will help us mature in our faith. Without these elements, our growth will be slow and stunted.
We also have an active part in removing weeds. These are people, places, disciplines, and things that choke out relationship with God.
There may be friends who consistently lead us away from God and into sin. These will definitely hinder spiritual growth. It may be time to begin weeding out some of them.
Are there places we frequent that cause us to stumble or hinder growth? They won’t all be strip clubs and bars. For some it may be the mall – where covetousness is stirred up. For others it could be the beach.
Are there any disciplines that choke the life out of us? Again, they aren’t necessarily bad in and of themselves, but if they crowd in around us, it may be necessary to weed some out. It could be our choice of TV programs (or amount of time spent watching it), the use of that those lovely witty sarcastic phrases on loved ones that are picked up from TV viewing. Perhaps reading material, or activities that leave no time for the Lord.
Are there any “things” that stand between us and the Lord? I’ve learned that the more “stuff” I have, the more my time is required to be a good steward of what I have. Whatever we value more than our relationship with Jesus needs to be carefully considered. After all, we won’t take any of it with us!
Today, take a walk through the garden of your life with a discerning eye. What needs to be done for growth? What needs to be pulled out by the roots?
Unwanted weeds will choke out our relationship with our Father.
“He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water
that brings forth its fruit in its season
whose leaf also shall not wither
and whatever he does shall prosper.
This series began with C’mon In…
and continues with Feed Me