So far we have cultivated our land and prepare our soil for planting. Next we went to the local store to purchase the seeds we wanted to plant. Now we are at the place where we have need to nurture what we have planted, weed out what we didn’t sow, and feed and care for the things we want to grow.
Delicate as our garden is we need to know too much water will kill our plants just like not enough will also. Plus we need to know how much is too much fertilizer and how much is too little. Being able to tell what your plants look like helps too when it comes to weeding out what doesn’t belong. Ignorance of what our harvest is supposed to look like is no excuse. It was the excuse my dad used once when he pulled a bunch of mom’s flowers from her flower beds claiming they were weeds. It didn’t get him off the hook with mom and it won’t us either when we stand before God.
It’s definitely not good enough to just plant the seeds and walk away from the garden only to come back with a plate and fork expecting to get instant, unlabored results. What we plant has to be cared for no differently than the child we gave birth to or the animal we chose to be in our care. Whether we want to admit it or not there is not a great deal of things that don’t require some kind of labor.
Unlabored results in a garden are a weed infested patch of dirt. The same goes with our spiritual lives. If we want it to grow into something that produces good fruit for Jesus we need to be willing to put our “hand to the plow” or back to the shovel, our heart into our efforts whatever phrase you want to use and work! Work? “Mommy! Karen, used a dirty word in her writing! She said the ‘W’ word, work!” Yes, that’s what I said, “work.”
What we put into our spiritual garden is exactly what we are going to get out of it. If we allow the things in the world to grow in around us and choke out our relationship with Jesus that’s exactly what we will get. A relationship that has been destroyed by worldly forces we allowed to enter.
I wish I could say we could just put out a sign in front of our garden declaring it a weed free zone, no bugs, pest, unproductive plants not allowed. If it was that easy I would go into the business of selling such a sign. If you believe that I have ocean front property in Montana I’d like to sell you.
Truth is what we get out of anything depends a lot on what we put into it. If we want a good relationship with our spouse or children or co-workers we need to do our part. Weeding out what doesn’t belong is vital and again we need to know in our hearts what it is that doesn’t belong in our garden. Anger, fear, disobedience, impatience, and more are things that don’t belong in our spiritual garden. We need to recognize these things for what they are and know exactly what the damage is they can cause.
Tending to the garden takes patience, diligence and the desire to have a better outcome than the last crop we tried to grow. Becoming discouraged isn’t going to help our crop. Giving up won’t help the garden grow. We need to be forever watchful on the condition of our garden. Does it need more water, less fertilizer, what are its needs exactly to produce good fruit?
Our spiritual lives need that same kind of nurturing. A watchful eye and a caring heart with the desire to grow the kind of fruit our Heavenly Father would be proud. Someone who is after good results from intentional labor instead of crop failure due to unlabored efforts.
All of this doesn’t require a green thumb but an intentional heart and a willing spirit to labor for Jesus and to grow, grow, grow!