As I am sitting on my porch enjoying the light breeze and the just right temperature, I notice the blue sky and creation coming alive around me in the color green. The sun is shining across the back yard and the birds are singing. Then, I look over at my flower beds filled with weeds and in desperate need of some fresh soil. The weeds didn’t get there overnight. They gradually grew and spread covering what once was filled with flowers. When left unattended, this always happens. I know that if I were more attentive on a regular basis, they wouldn’t get so out of control . But, here we are. It will require some work, but it will be worth it to see the beauty emerge from removing the weeds, mixing in some fresh soil, and planting new flowers.
As I looked at the task before me, I could’t help but think of how this relates to our spiritual lives. Our “spiritual gardens” need to be planted, tended, and nourished. When they are not, weeds will invade and destroy the virtues and characteristics that God wants to grow within us. Our lives become dry, thirsty, and some things go dormant or die in us.
What condition is your spiritual garden in? Have you been faithfully tending it? Colossians 3: 5-10 warns us to put to death what is earthly. These things will invade our gardens and seek to choke out the goodness that God wants to grow in us. The weeds of bitterness, idolatry, pride, deceit, anger, lying, and disobedience. Our weeds may be different but the root is pride.
In Colossians 3:12-15, we are given a picture of what we can grow in our spiritual gardens that glorifies God and reveals Christ in us. It begins with the soil of love. When the soil is ready we plant seeds of God’s Word that grow into plants of grace, mercy, and forgiveness. We plant flowers of compassion, humility, generosity, and kindness. We border it all with patience and prayer. Then, we cover it all with the straw of love.
Our spiritual gardens require our attention, not just at the change of the seasons, but constantly. We need to be examining what is growing, what needs weeding, and what needs more nourishing. We need God to cultivate our gardens to bring forth the fruit of the Spirit; the abundant harvest. Let the tending begin.
Blessings & love, Jennifer Thomas
Be the Gardner of My Soul By Richard Foster
Spirit of the Living God, be the Gardner of my soul. For so long I have been waiting, silent, and still—experiencing a winter of the soul. But now, in the strong name of Jesus Christ, I dare to ask:
Clear away the dead growth of the past, break up the hard clods of custom and routine, stir in the rich compost of vision and challenge, bury deep in my soul the implanted Word, cultivate and water and tend my heart, until new life buds and opens and flowers. Amen.