We have a small garden in the front of our house. It’s nothing extraordinary, but it’s special to us. Like any garden, we have weeds that often sprout up, and they spread very quickly. We’re constantly having to maintain it. I started thinking recently…
Our hearts are much like gardens. Before Christ redeemed us, they were so darkened that nothing good could grow. We had no light. Our soil was bad. The only thing that sprouted from our garden was sinfulness – anger, pride, lust, selfishness, etc.
The same God who once spoke to a formless world, “Let there be light” spoke again to a lifeless soul and shined His light into our hearts, raising us from the dead! We have great soil anchored on the Rock of Christ, and we have brilliant light since we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Now we may bear fruit! Jesus said, “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” (John 15:8)
The thing about gardening is that it takes work on our part. Fruit doesn’t just appear. One of the things we need to do daily is remove the weeds of sin from our lives. They will grow rapidly and spread all over destroying the good fruit we might have yielded. This is why Paul said, “Put to death what is earthly in you” and then proceeded to give a “hit list” of different sins we need to kill. (Colossians 3) It’s important to note that you must pull weeds out by their root or they will grow back quickly. We must not merely deal with sin at a surface level (managing it); we must destroy it! Pluck it out. Rid yourself of it. Put it to death or it will put you to death! Jesus said, “And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.” (Matthew 5:30) That is far deeper than managing sin; it is killing sin.
Gardening also requires daily watering. We need to be watered by the Word of God every single day. His Word nurtures our soul and grows us into the image of Christ. As we make His Word our meditation and our great delight, we will be like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season, and its leaf does not wither. (Psalm 1:3) Peter said, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:2-3)
We must cultivate the garden of our hearts so that we may give to God the fruit He is worthy of. Solomon said, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) Just as a gardener keeps his garden with all vigilance, protecting it from weeds, pests, and malnutrition, so we must also guard our hearts and ensure they are nourished with Christ, and protected from spiritual pests.
From our heart flows our words, actions, thoughts, and the motivations behind the things we say and do.
A well-watered garden makes for a well-prepared evangelist. When we tend to our hearts – ridding ourselves of sin, watering our souls with the Word, growing closer to the Lord – we will be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit and more tender to His compassion for the lost. We will also have a greater sense of urgency with which we carry the Gospel into the world. As Paul spoke of being Christ’s ambassadors, he made this distinction, “For the love of Christ compels us..” (2 Corinthians 5:14) If our garden is not tended to, the love of Christ will be waning. We must be compeled by the love of Christ as we fulfill His Great Commission.
May our gardens blossom and bear rich fruit for all the grace that has been poured into it!