Thursday, May 28, 2009

Character Trait: Diligence

Gardening has always opened up my eyes to heart truths and this past week was no exception. Earthly endeavors often reveal spiritual truths. Let's consider how the character trait of diligence produces fruit!

This year I decided to take some of our lawn and transform it into a garden. It seemed like a simple enough idea--especially with the aid of a handyman and his rototiller. In just a short time and for a small fee, my lawn was freshly tilled. The soil appeared rich and ready for fruitful production. With the addition of a pretty white fence, my plan was appearing successful.

Yet, I knew in my head--though not in my back and muscles yet--that the real work lie ahead and it would require much diligence. Transforming the purpose of that piece of land would require much more than a thought and a one-time effort! For me, the spiritual parallels refresh me as I plod along with my desire for transformation.

The plan to transform the lawn into a garden is not unlike Jesus Christ's plan to transform our lives. Jesus takes lives into far grander purposes than simple existence and He uncovers and remedies the hidden things which hinder those grand purposes. Though my lawn was useful and even enjoyable, a garden will nourish and satisfy far more. Like my lawn, my life without Christ was useful and enjoyable to myself and some others but devoid of true purpose or eternal blessing. Furthermore, under the surface of my lawn lay many undesirable things: pests, stones, useless weeds and even nutritional deficiencies. My life without Christ was the same: hidden things in my soul which prevented the beautiful legacy God desires in every life. More critically, of course, God created humanity for more than existence. Lawns are fine just as lawns but a life without Christ is a travesty.

As I plod through the earthly work of transforming the lawn into a garden, the rocks seem to multiply each time I cultivate; the weeds re-root themselves--even though I was sure I got them all--and grubs are ever appearing. Yet, I know there is progress. The roots of the weeds are not as deep, the stones not as large and the grubs are less in number. Diligence is bearing fruit already.

My spiritual life is the same. Sometimes I weary at pulling up the weeds of sin and rocky parts in my heart still remain, yet Christ is transforming me too. Every time the ground of my soul is plowed with His word, when the tines of conviction uproot a weed of sin or penetrate a stony part, I am transformed a little more into His likeness. His eternal work is producing results even when I can not see them. My part is simply to diligently seek Him and trust His transforming power!

Transitioning from existence to purpose is not a speedy process. Living a life purposed upon revealing the glory of God in the daily details is a life-time work. It requires earthly diligence to prepare the way for His eternal work. Adding diligence to our character is needed so the soil of our hearts will be prepared for His seeds of grace.

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5-8)

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