I love to garden: bringing order and beauty to a plot of dirt reminds me of the blessings of cultivating spiritual life. A healthy, vibrant garden--earthly or spiritual--requires persistent effort: cultivating, sowing, weeding, pruning.
Our home gardens are a testimony to the blessings God has used to decorate our lives. We use flowers and colors our parents loved along side perennials from friends, family and previous homes. Before new gardens are created, we ’redeem’ the plot from its previous purpose…usually lawn. The intertwined roots of lawn grasses and buried rocks make cultivation difficult. That work reminds me of the persistent love of God which reaches out to every soul piercing the barriers life creates. Decisions instantly change destinies but the transformation takes place in daily details.
The perpetual growth of weeds reminds me of two ever-present dangers to my spiritual garden: endless activity and plain old sin. Both are capable of overshadowing any vision of God’s touch on my life. The busyness of life joins with natural sin tendencies creating disorder and waylaying the purposes of God. It is my privilege and responsibility to pluck out sin and pointless activity so that the view of God in my life is unobstructed.
Some of the weeds in my gardens produce tiny flowers; their deceptive attraction sometimes persuades me to let them stay. Inevitably, they overtake my intentional plantings. Similarly, sometimes I hold fast to habitual sins that I perceive as adding to my life. Their produce, though, is more deadly than my garden weeds for the fruit of every sin is always death. The only results of my natural tendencies--let alone my sins--are earthly and temporary. Eternally beautiful life gardens require intentional cultivation of the life of Christ within.
Also in my garden are some extremely productive perennials. As much as I like them, pruning their fruitfulness protects other blessings of God from being crowded out. These prolific beauties remind me of the truth that too much of a good thing is still too much. God has granted me passions and interests--but serving those passions will leave my life unbalanced and His purposes for me stunted.
Finally, both of our dads loved ’bulb’ flowers. Our tulips and irises do most of their growing out of sight, but attentively nurturing the bulbs produces results as well. Likewise, not all of our spiritual life is visible, but the Holy Spirit produces great growth as He searches our depths, convicting us and calling us to fellowship with God.
The purpose of life is to know God: His greatness and His goodness. He provides the nourishment and care we need because of His love; our right response to that love is to seek Him and obey Him. The presence and participation of others in our life gardens is part of His design. We are to be both blessed and a blessing as we journey through life. May each of our lives be a garden that reflects His glory for all to enjoy.