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  • Cherith Shiflett

Our Spiritual Garden- Growing in Christ

By Cherith Shiflett



 

Spring is one of my favorite times of the year. I love to watch everything come back to life after a long, cold winter. I enjoy the warm weather, gentle breezes, pretty flowers, and the birds. This year I enjoyed planting little seeds and watching them grow. Several times as I watered and checked on them, I thought of the spiritual applications of a garden. I think the Lord loves gardens. He created the Garden of Eden for the beginning of life, and nearing the end of His life, He prayed in a garden- the garden Gethsemane.

So, what are some spiritual lessons we can learn from a garden?

 

Soil- the soil you plant in is important. We learn this from the parable of the sower.

Matthew 13:4-8 describes the different places a seed can fall.  "And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:  But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold."

A seed has to have “good ground” to bring forth fruit. Plants have to have a good foundation to start their growth and develop roots. This can be a picture of salvation- when you heard the Gospel, accepted the Lord as your Saviour, and began to be grounded in Him. He is our ultimate foundation. It all begins with Him. Don’t be the one who has the seed fall on stony ground, thorny ground, or by the wayside. If you haven’t accepted God’s free gift of salvation, do it today! Start your foundation for spiritual growth.


Sunlight- When I read the back of the seedling packets, I always get nervous about too much sunlight or too little sunlight or what if I need to get a growth light?… And then I just threw some seeds in a pot and set them outside my front door. And guess what? They sprouted perfectly. They got the perfect amount of sunlight. I think its amazing God knows exactly what each little flower, each little blade of grass needs for this season, and He lovingly takes care of each little bud.

Luke 12: 27-28 Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is today in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Sometimes we can be like I was reading those seedling packets. We overthink and overcomplicate needs that God has ALREADY taken care of. If God takes the time to make sure a lily has the necessary components to grow, don’t you think He will give you everything you need to grow? But like the verses say, “O ye of little faith." God will provide what you need when you need it. We just have to learn to trust the One who cares for the lilies.

 

Water- In order to grow, plants have to have water. As Christians, we are the same. We have

to have the water of the Word in order to grow. You can give a plant all the nutrients, fertilizer, good soil, and sunlight you want, but if you don’t have water, it will die. So many

times, Christians wonder why they’re dead spiritually, possibly even doubting their salvation, but when you ask them if they’re reading their Bible, the answer is, “It’s been awhile." Of course you’re doubting! Of course you’re dying. There is no water being applied.

Ephesians 5:26 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.

The only way to grow, to live holy and cleanse our hearts is by the Water of the Word. Don’t just read your Proverbs for the day and be done, actually meditate and give your seed a good watering. We want to be well-watered, not barely hanging on because we get water once a week.

Weeds- Whenever you have growth, you’re going to have weeds. I remember as a child pulling weeds out of my mom’s flower gardens for what seemed like hours! I remember wishing we could just leave them there! But weeds choke plants. They create an atmosphere that is impossible for growth, and if you don’t take care of them quickly, they completely overrun a garden.  Check your garden. Are there weeds of gossip? Discontentment? Bitterness? Complacency? So many different “weeds” can pop up so quickly. We have to address it and pull that weed out. As a child, I remember times I would pull and pull on a weed and it just wasn’t coming out. We would have to bring in reinforcements- a spade or even a big shovel. If you can’t get the weed out on your own, seek reinforcements. Talk to your Pastor’s wife or a Christian mentor. Get that weed out before it chokes your growth and overtakes your garden.

 

In conclusion, I always think of my mom when I think of gardening. She has the most beautiful flower bed, arches, greenery, and gardens. She works hard every year preparing, pruning, clearing out weeds and planting. And then she is able to come out in the mornings and enjoy the fruit of her labor and spend time with the Lord in her garden.


We are the gardeners of our hearts. We have all the necessary components to have a beautiful growth, but it takes work and care.

How is your spiritual garden? Is it overrun or dead? Or is a beautiful testimony of new life in Christ?

 


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