Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Planting, Watering, and Pruning

Ladies, do you like to garden?

I have to admit that I most assuredly do not have a “green thumb”. However, I understand (a little) the concept of having a successful garden.

Maybe it can be summed up in three simple steps…

First, there’s the planting, tilling the soil, and putting the seeds in the ground. Also, there’s the watering; if we want our flowers and shrubs to thrive, they must be nourished with lots of H₂O. The third step (which I sometimes fail to do if I plant anything at all) is also extremely crucial, the pruning, which cuts away the deadness that can hinder the plants from reaching their fullest potential.

Hmmm……. this process also sounds a lot like our growth in Christ. Maybe I can sum up this very important process in three (sometimes not so easy) steps...

First, the soil is our hearts and the seed is His Word. We have to position our hearts to receive instruction from the Lord. This can be equated to the tilling process. Having a heart that is tender and teachable means striving to get out all of the “junk” that keeps the seed from taking root. Bitterness, unforgiveness, resentment, anger, jealousy, strife, impatience, and things like these can hinder the Holy Spirit, our Teacher, from strengthening us in the Lord. We all need to “do business with God” often and ask Him to show us the “soil” of our hearts; then the Precious Seed, the Scriptures, can transform us more and more into the image of Christ.

Also, the watering is spending daily time in prayer and reading and meditating on the Word. None of us can live a life that's pleasing to our Father unless we spend that wonderful one-on-one time with Him, talking to Him and allowing Him to speak to us. What an awesome privilege to have access to His throne room, and we can call on Him whenever and wherever we desire. We also have His Word to teach us, train us, rebuke us, correct us, comfort us, and encourage us! His Word indeed does water our hearts, but we must be intentional to seek the treasures that are found there.

Finally, the pruning can be painful, but oh so vital to our walk with Christ. I have some things in my life, and you have some things in your life that desperately need to go! I love the metaphor of the vine and the branches that our Savior tells His disciples shortly before He goes to the cross. The Lord cuts away the evil, sinful, unrighteous elements in our lives that keep us from bearing fruit for Him. Sometimes, He uses trials and suffering as part of the process. It hurts! Yet, without allowing the Lord to prune us, we could never grow in Christlikeness without it.

Planting, watering, and pruning…our gardens need these essential elements, and so do our hearts!

“Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

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