After a great amount of hard work and effort over the last two years, mostly by my wife, as she’s the gardener, we’ve re-established our garden. Now we’re now reaping the benefits. We can delight in the variety of shapes, colours, scents and tastes produced by the plants which have been so lovingly tended and nurtured by Anna.
Sadly though, it isn’t just a case of sitting back and enjoying it all. There’s still work to be done, in what seems to be a continuing battle to preserve and protect what’s grown. Besides the problem of the weeds, we’ve found out our garden is being enjoyed by others. We’re sharing its delights with slugs, greenfly, blackfly, and even the birds and butterflies, who’re taking their share.
We realise all these creatures are dependent upon each other in the wonderful eco-system that God’s created. However, we must take certain measures to control the detrimental effect they’re having on the well being of the plants in the garden. We want our plants to grow, and fulfil their full potential.
Our lives can be like gardens, producing fruitfulness and pleasure through our words, attitudes, and actions. They can be pervaded by love, joy, and peace, bringing blessing and encouragement to others. The way we live out our lives can declare something of God’s character.
On the other hand, if we allow things like distrust, unforgiveness bitterness, and wrong thoughts to invade our lives, we become less and less fruitful. We’re unable to pursue all that God intends for us to be.
We’ve noticed that even those welcome visitors to our garden, the birds and butterflies, can have a harmful effect. The birds take delight in eating the seedlings and strawberries, and the larvae of the butterfly eat the cabbage leaves. The lesson for us is that we shouldn’t allow seemingly good and acceptable things to take over and destroy what God’s trying to develop in us. This can be a relationship, an activity or something that’s inherently harmless in itself, but which pre-occupies us to such an extent that we’re distracted from fulfilling our destiny, and from becoming the person God wants us to be.
The Scriptures make it clear that we have an enemy who’ll use every means possible to distract us from following God’s plan and purpose for our lives. Even good intentions and actions, if carried out with wrong motives, can do more harm than good. We have to be so careful that we’re being prompted by the Holy Spirit, and only doing what God our heavenly Father requires of us. The Apostle Peter gives us this warning ‘Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him standing firm in the faith’ (1 Peter 5: 8-9).
As in the garden, we have to be watchful about any harm being done. We have to look out for potential damage to our spiritual growth and development once the enemy gets a foothold. Then we must take appropriate action. The Bible provides us with the advice we need in such circumstances.
‘So humble yourselves before God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw close to God and he will draw close to you’ (James 4:7-8).
‘Let the words of Christ, in all their richness live in your hearts and make you wise’ (Colossian 3:16).
‘Do not give the devil a foothold’ (Ephesians 4:27).
‘So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful you don’t fall!’ (1 Corinthians 10:12).
Prayer: Dear Lord, please help me not to let anything creep into my life which would ruin my spiritual growth and fruitfulness for You. Amen.
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