Hope In Christ
Flower Bed Lessons
I was working in my flowerbeds this morning as the Lord began to teach me some fundamental lessons on cultivation and pruning. After running the sprinklers on my newly sodded grass and flowerbeds, He caused me to see the beds with greater visibility than before they were freshly watered. The plants perked up and the colors were much more distinct, as if they wanted to show off for their steward, me! Not only did the living water change the grass and flowerbeds, but also the soil was changed. It became more pliable and receptive to transformation, able to provide strength and additional nourishment to the plants.
The life-giving water also caused other things not seen before to be displayed for all to see. There were intruders, little sprigs vying for the very moisture needed for the chosen well placed grass and flowers. With eyes more intently tuned, I was able to readily see the intruders. Many were misplaced seedling sprouts from their original source that needed to be transplanted to a new location in order to thrive. However, there were others, obvious invaders, with the intended purpose of robbing the nourishment from the chosen plants that would cause the stunting or misdirecting of their growth. Both of these invaders needed immediate attention when the soil was open to change.
As the sunlight made its early morning appearance, my vision was even better. This fresh vision charged me to find the remedy because I wanted a vital growing bed of beautiful, fragrant, colorful plants that brought delight to those that looked upon them. With the charge of this revelation, also came the old temptation to put it off. My back was hurting because I had already pulled hoses and sprinklers all over the lawn; much less I had ridden my adult tricycle a mile! It whispered to me, “Go rest! Come back after you put your spine on ice for an hour or two. You have not eaten, and it is warming up and you will be even more uncomfortable.”
The flesh always wants the easiest and most immediate actions to bring relief. This time I did not listen. Instead I pushed on through the discomfort and the subtle reasoning of my flesh. As I pulled out the invaders, immediately I was aware of two very distinct things. The soil was very forgiving of the tug, allowing the seedlings to pop out easily. The living water had made their roots tender and not heavily entrenched. While the weeds were more stubborn, they, too, ultimately gave up their hold to the freshly watered ground.
I stood back and gazed on the finished product. It definitely looked much more like its intended design with the vibrant greens and distinct colors of the flowering bushes shouting, “I am what I was always intended to be to the glory of the Creator, and to the pleasure of His steward.”
As you read this description of my time with the Gardener this morning, I pray you were making associations between the truths of God’s living Word and our walk with Him. He walks us through our continual growth and transformation into His intended end for our lives… His holiness displayed through us as we “behold Him and are changed from glory to glory” to look more and more like Him.
The living water is our living Lord Jesus and His Word as the Source from whom we drink deeply and never thirst again. It is also the flow of the Living Water that we allow to wash through and over our minds and bodies, constantly bringing His refreshing in our daily lives. Through “the washing of His Word” we are also exposed to those things in us that do not look like Jesus. As we grow, our increased vision reveals the things that mar His intended reflection and representation through us, as the ones created and regenerated to bring glory and honor to Him.
Just as the water in the flowerbeds softens the soil, the Living Water softens our hearts/souls to be receptive to the exposure of the Truth, as well as our thoughts and beliefs that are contrary to it. All of this is done by the direction of the waters’ flow, which the steward of God’s flowerbed adjusts wherever and whenever needed. Important to note is that it is the Living Water that makes the changes, not the one moving the sprinklers! No amount of work by the steward to soften the soil can change the moisture level until the water is applied. It is the water that softens the soil, not the work of the ‘hose tender!’
In our lives the Giver of Living Water is the Holy Spirit. The soil of our hearts is softened as He directs the Water of Life to the barren places that are infested with invading weeds of lies and false beliefs. As His light shines on an area of false belief, He will reveal the source of our feelings, thoughts and actions with the resulting consequences. Our part is to accept and experience the revelation of His Truth, “That is not who I am, not who God regenerated me to be!” We can readily, almost effortless, embrace His Truth, resulting in more inner and outward transformation into the image of our Lord, which, by the way, is always the Father’s plan and purpose for us in every situation.
Romans 8:29-30 “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these He also glorifies.”
What about the misplaced or wind tossed seedlings? They, too, had to be removed, replanted, and pruned so the intended planted ones could come to full growth. No matter of the good intention to reproduce in the image of its parentage, the intention was misplaced and misapplied resulting in two negatives. They were robbing from the healthy, intended plants future growth. Also, the healthy plants ultimately would overshadow and prevent the seedlings’ growth by preventing the proper light from reaching them. All growth is not productive growth. Proper growth must be tamed and directed by the pruning shears!
John 15:1,2 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.”
As for the light, God’s Light is continually shining in and on our lives. We can; however, put things into our lives that cause shadows or that block out the light. Those things can actually be good things in the right place and time. The caution here; however, is when it is not the proper time and place, or it may be things God never intended, period! These can cause ‘shadows and blocks’ that lead to a ‘dryness of soul’ and to burn out in our minds and bodies. Remember, God’s grace is always sufficient for all HE has called us to, but grace can be thwarted when we operate in a task that we are not suited or called to do by Him.
Of course, it is obvious we are not to have anything to do with the things of darkness. Darkness is to have no place in us. We must realize that lies and false beliefs, slowly, inch by inch, creep in like weeds, choking and blocking the light and water of Life from reaching its destination of our longing, thirsty souls. The Holy Spirit compassionately but firmly will remove them when you agree with His conviction.
So, remember the Living Water of the Word brings life! The washing and the Light of the Holy Spirit bring exposure and growth as we abide in His provision and love.
Grow where God plants you, rooted and grounded in Him, feasting on the food of His rich Word, drinking in the Water of Life, and yielding to the Light of His Spirit. As He exposes and prunes what hinders the transformation into His image, yield to His Loving Hands. His pruning sometimes causes us to question His reasons as He removes good things and loving people from our lives, but in time we come to understand that those very things were sapping the energy and the people were possibly diverting our focus or were not in the realm of the new land of our calling. All of His cuttings are to fulfill His purpose and pleasure which is to reveal His son in us.
It is hard to comprehend in our hedonistic culture that the world does not center around us or for us. We are here on this earth to Glorify Him in our mortal flesh and to do what pleases and delights Him. Just as my flowers and ferns express His glory when fed and tended properly, we bring Him great joy when Christ is formed in us (Galatians 4:19).
Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27