Following our garden makeover of a few months ago, Anna, my wife, has been busy sowing seeds, potting on, planting out, watering, weeding, providing supports for some plants and protection for others and generally tending and caring for what we hope will become a pleasing and productive garden.
All the plants are now looking healthy, as if they will do what they’re expected to, with blossom, buds and small fruit appearing when and where they should. Although it all looks good, and in spite of all the hard work and constant care, there’s still no guarantee that all the plants will continue to grow and produce what’s hoped for. All gardeners have their disappointments and Anna has also had hers. Sometimes plants, for some reason or another, don’t survive, or don’t reach their potential.
That’s why, recently, I was surprised to see a notice near some plants in a local Garden Centre which read ‘Guaranteed to Grow’. I wondered how such a statement could be made with integrity. Surely everyone knows that, with living things, there can be no absolute certainty that healthy growth will be achieved.
Plants need to be in the right environment, with the correct amount of light, water, nutrients, protection and care, if they are to survive and grow as they should. It’s the same with that integral part of us which makes us the individual we are, our spirit.
Unlike the plants, our spirit is eternal, but it still needs to be well cared for if it’s to flourish and grow strong. If our spirit is strong then, as a person, we’re more equipped to face the challenges from the outside. The Apostle Paul, when recounting some of the hardships he was facing, could say ‘That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day’ (2 Corinthians 4:16).
What do we need for our spirit to grow strong? Firstly, we need light. Jesus said ‘I am the light of the world. If you follow me. you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life’ (John 8:12).
Secondly, we need nutrients. The psalmist found great delight in the word of God and describes it as being ‘sweet to the taste and sweeter than honey’ (Psalm 119:107). Jesus refers to himself as being ‘the bread of life’ (John 6:48), meaning He’s our source of life and nourishment.
Thirdly, we need water. John 7:37-39 Jesus promises streams of living water (the Holy Spirit) to all those who believe in Him.
God has provided all that our spirit requires to develop and grow. Plus, He’s promised to nurture and protect all who are His. In addition, He’s promised to complete the work He’s started in each of us (Philippians 1:6). What better guarantee for growth is there than that?
We just need to ensure we do our part!
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for all You’ve provided to help my spirit to grow. Please help me not to neglect caring for my spirit. Help me to use what You’ve made available so my life may be fruitful for you. Amen.
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