At the moment I’m growing palm bushes and date palm trees from seed. Some are from Spain, some from north Africa and some from Arizona / New Mexico. It’s great fun! About 70 out of 100 have sprouted so far. Each day I bring them out of the warm, cosy cellar and place them by a window sill so they can benefit from natural light and the sun – when it decides to come out! Every few days I re-water them and even talk to them and pray over them. I have a fanciful vision, 50 years hence, of an avenue of palm trees lining the drive up to the main house at Ellel Grange! (I did say fanciful!). I want the best for my palms and enjoy seeing them grow and develop. In the preparation, I was very careful to read the instructions properly, buy the correct peat-based compost, vermiculite, sand and new pots. Enough water, but not too much.
In the same way, are we tending the soil of our own lives, watering it with the Word of God, being filled afresh with His Holy Spirit and His love, whilst also allowing others to input into our lives to help us grow? (Palm seeds need outside input!). Are the seeds (the fruit and gifts of the Holy Spirit) which God planted in our lives at our spiritual conception germinating? Are we nurturing them properly? What do they look like? Our reading from Galatians says there are 9 fruits of the Spirit, while in 1 Corinthians 12:4-13, Paul says there are also 9 gifts of the Spirit. Are we seeking or do we have the gifts of wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, tongues and interpretation of tongues? We could add administration and it has been said that there are up to 27 gifts of the Spirit.
Whilst the gifts are valuable for doing work in God’s kingdom and to be cherished and nurtured, God is more interested in our character and us developing an intimate relationship with Him. If our hearts and character are healed and wholesome, then we are more likely to bless others with our gifts, rather than harm them. Are we therefore allowing Him to change us, to prune us, to grow us, to love us? Let’s look to the master gardener to tend our seeds so that He can harvest ripe fruit!
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, please help me to allow You to water me with Your love, to prune me with Your discipline, to grow me to maturity. For I am yours to do with as You will, to bless in order to bless others and thereby extend Your kingdom. Amen.
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