• John Williams


Updated: Aug 11

Well, I’m at that time of year again. That time when I look out at my young vegetable garden and wonder if all of that work is worth it. Right now there are just a bunch of baby plants that need weeded, watered, and fertilized. Hard work! Ugh! But then, I try to remind myself just how fun it really is to eat all of those vegetables fresh from the garden.

There is nothing like homemade salsa or eating soup with vegetables you know that you grew. Then there are the fresh strawberries, green beans, peppers, and squash. Nothing I’ve ever bought from the produce department at the grocery store tastes like truly fresh vegetables from the back yard.

Then there is the added fun of walking through the grocery store and seeing how much money you've saved. Plus, we often get so much food we have to give it away to neighbors and friends because we can’t eat it fast enough or make room for it all in the freezer. Growing something worthwhile takes work, but in the end it really is worth it.

In the Christian life we find the same principle at work. In order to be fruitful, we have to put in the work. I’m not talking about working to somehow earn God’s love or salvation. That is a gift we could never earn. (Ephesians 2:4-9) What I am talking about is the work it takes to live a victorious, fruitful life. The work of daily submitting ourselves to our Heavenly Father, learning to do things His way, and then seeing the amazing fruit He causes to grow in our lives.

So, how do we do this? How do we grow anything good? Well, let’s start by remembering that on our own, we can’t. Jesus put it very clearly in John 15:1-5 that apart from Him we can do nothing. “I am the true vine,” He tells us. He goes on to say, “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” So, first of all realize there would be no garden without the cross. First and foremost we must be connected to the Father, then He will cause all things to grow.

Those of us who have lived any length of time trying to follow Christ realize that for our garden to be fruitful we must do some work on our end. What do we need to do? Dig in to the Word of God.

  • Allow it to change your heart and mind and do what it says. (James 1:22)

  • Allow God’s word to be a constant reminder of who you are in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3-8; Colossians 1:13-14)

  • Daily bow before the throne of God in prayer and seek His will for each day. (Matthew 6:9-10)

  • Cast all of your worries on Him and trust Him. (Philippians 4:6-7)

  • Humble yourself and ask God to show you how to love others as He does. (John 15:12-13; Philippians 2:3)

  • Practice the art of forgiving as you have been forgiven. (Colossians 3:13)

These acts of seeking, submitting, and obeying act as water and fertilizer in the garden of our lives. When we actively submit our will to His, we become more like Christ and we start to see amazing things growing in our lives.

So, what good things does God want to grow in our lives? In Galatians 5:22, Paul lists the fruit of living by the Spirit.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22

Now, that is a garden we could all enjoy! So, are you seeing these fruits growing in your life? Are you being transformed into His likeness? Personally, I’m often amazed at how God has changed me when I think back to what a mouthy, stubborn, impatient, prideful person I was in the past.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve got a long way to go. But, the good news is, I’ve seen first-hand just how God really can change my attitude and make me more fruitful. So, press on fellow gardener. Seek Him in all things and let the master gardener have His way in you.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
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