Continued reflections on spiritual gardening

1st Reflection: Persevering in Planting

Ecclesiastes 11:4
Those who wait for perfect weather
will never plant seeds;
those who look at every cloud
will never harvest crops.

Sometimes in our spiritual journeys we hesitate in stepping out in faith because we are waiting for the perfect conditions.  We allow issues like the fear of man, the fear of failure and/or wanting someone else to make the first move to stand in the way.  As I shared last time in, Reflection on the Kingdom of God, God is quite generous in the sharing of His seed, the Word; He doesn't need us to wait for the perfect conditions but rather He spreads it on all types of soil and isn't concerned about "waste." 

This year, I've been reflecting on the last 4 years of my life and I can recall many different scenarios where I was spreading the seeds of God's love.  Many times those moments were filled with fears, tears, sorrow and sometimes hopelessness.  I often had the feeling that what I was doing was a "waste."  Now, 4 years later, as I look back I can see the power of God's redeeming love in each situation.  I am learning that it is worth persevering in the spreading of God's love.  If we choose to wait for the "perfect conditions" in order to step out in faith, we will never move.  Life rarely provides us with "perfection" so instead of waiting for perfect conditions we should remain faithful in doing things according to God's way and time will show the power of God's love to overcome the weeds of this life.

Early this winter, the Holy Spirit captured my heart with Psalm 126 and it has become a summarizing doxology for this season of my life:

Psalm 126:5-6
Those who cry as they plant crops
will sing at harvest time.
Those who cry
as they carry out the seeds
will return singing
and carrying bundles of grain.

The day after I ran across this Psalm, I "coincidentally" heard this entire Psalm put to music.  Kristene Mueller sings this Psalm in a song called Those Who Dream.  It has been a beautiful way to sing and preserve these truths in my life.

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Second Reflection: Weeding our gardens

Below is a Scripture that provides clarity on how to weed the fields of our lives.  If you've spent anytime in your garden you know that there are weeds in it and that we didn't intentionally plant them there:)  As you read through the Scripture below, it will help you look over areas in your life so that you know the things to get rid of and to help you find the things to hold onto as you wait to see the fruit:

James 3:13-18
Are there those among you who are truly wise and understanding?
Then they should show it by living right and doing good things
with a gentleness that comes from wisdom.14
But if you are selfish and have
bitter jealousy in your hearts, do not brag.
Your bragging is a lie that hides the truth.15
That kind of "wisdom" does not come
from God but from the world.
It is not spiritual; it is from the devil.
16 Where jealousy and selfishness are,
there will be confusion and every kind of evil.
17 But the wisdom that comes from
 God is first of all pure, then
peaceful, gentle, and easy to please.
This wisdom is always ready to help those
who are troubled and to do good for others.
It is always fair and honest.
18 People who work for peace in a
peaceful way plant a good crop of right-living.

God's way                                                                              Weeds of the World
Gentleness                                                                               Selfishness
Wisdom                                                                                   Confusion
Pure                                                                                         Jealousy
Peaceful                                                                                   Bragging
Easy to please                                                                          Bitterness
Looking for opportunities to do good for others                        Evil
Fair
Honest

I find it helpful to look at these two lists.  One reason is I find these lists so refreshing is that it brings clarity  to God's way of operation.  Sometimes we confuse God's way by adding emotions of disappointment, never doing enough, fear and shame.  However, if you reread these Scriptures you will clearly see that God's way is full of peace and life-giving truths.  The second reason I find these lists helpful is it helps me discern what the weeds are, so that I know what I need to pull up.

If you know me well, you know that I can get very passionate about certain topics, especially if it touches on an issue I care about deeply.  As a passionate person, weeds often sprout forth in the process of discussion.  These particular verses are helping me to filter my passion.  When my passionate conversations get weedy, I am tempted to throw passion out the window.  But looking through this Scripture is helping me to instead weed through my gardens of passion, to keep that which is good and throw out the rest.  When I see that the path of passion should be tamed with gentleness and the results of my passion about a topic should be peace and righteousness, it helps me to direct my passion in a way that brings life to those around me. 

A couple of summers ago I reflected on what gentleness is, so if you think gentleness and passion are contrary ideals check out my post, but in summary I stated that:
Gentleness is
the recognition that you have
the power to break, harm or destroy
the object you are interacting
with because it is precious and fragile
in power compared to you.
Because of this you choose to restrain your
power and instead use it
to protect the object for its benefit.

I pray that you will take time to use these Scriptures to reflect on the gardens of your life and to allow God's way to produce the most fruit out of the situations of your life.

In Christ,

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