This year, for the first time, my husband and I put in a raised garden and planted arugula (rucola or rocket, depending on which country you are in), carrots, potatoes and strawberries. I followed the instructions on the packets as I planted the arugula and carrots, laying a line of these tiny seeds and carefully covering them. Jim watered the garden faithfully, and before long, we had lots of little plants poking their heads up above the ground!
I looked online to see what we were supposed to do next, and the next step was difficult for me. These beautiful baby plants needed to be thinned. I needed to pull out most of the arugula, leaving just one plant every six inches. I was thankful to read that the seedlings which were pulled out could be used in our salad, but it was so hard to pull out more than half of the plants that were growing. The rows of arugula were looking so full and lush! But as I thinned them, I reminded myself that it had to be done so that the plants I was leaving would have room to grow.
As I did this, I felt the stirring of the Holy Spirit in me whispering, “This is how things are in your life too.” I realise that many times our lives get very full of good things, but the Holy Spirit is encouraging me, and I think many of you as well, that we need to look at the things which are filling our lives. Choose which ones need more space to grow, and carefully remove all the excess ones that are surrounding it that are keeping it from growing.
I also thought of the parable Jesus told in Mark 4 of the farmer scattering seed. Some of the seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked the plants so they could not produce grain. Jesus explained to his disciples that the thorns that choked the plants were the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things.
May I encourage us all today to look at our lives and see if we have things that are choking out what God wants in them in order to produce fruit in our lives? Maybe the things in themselves are not bad, but just distract us from where God wants our focus. Or maybe they are sins that trip us up, as our verse for today from Hebrews 12 says. Or it could be that we just need less of a particular thing in our lives. For example, work is good, but if we work so much that we don’t have time for relationship with our family or time with God, then it needs to be thinned, like my plants, in order to leave room for other things to grow. Whatever they are, let us go with God and do some thinning in our lives so that what He has planted has room to grow and bear much fruit.
Prayer: Lord, I recognise that my life has got full of various things which are not allowing for the growth of Your best in my life. Please help me to recognise which things You want me to remove. Give me faith that, as I remove these things, You will cause growth in me and cause me to be more fruitful for Your kingdom and for Your glory. Amen.
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