In Scripture, God uses pictures to impart principles and ideas to us which will aid us in our spiritual growth.  One of my favorites is when the Lord refers to our spiritual relationship with Him as a garden.  For me, the most beautiful reference to this relationship is in Song of Songs 4:10-15 (too long to include here) but it goes on to conclude in Song of Songs  6:2-3 (NIV)

My beloved has gone down to his garden, to the beds of spices, to browse in the gardens and to gather lilies.  I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine; he browses among the lilies.

Our relationship with the Lord is our spiritual garden.  It is where He and I meet to engage in relationship.  He longs to be in my garden and I long to be with Him.  A garden all starts with seed, and scripture is clear that God has planted a seed in each one of us, when we commit our hearts and lives to Jesus Christ and call Him our Lord and savior.

1 John 3:9 “Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin; for His {God’s} seed remains in him: and He cannot sin, because He is born of God.”

The day that God’s divine seed was planted in you, that seed transported the very nature of God Himself into your spirit, with the full expectation that His very life and nature would be reproduced on the inside of you.  You are “pregnant” so to speak with the very nature of God that will be birthed, and grow into the “fullness of Christ” in you (Eph 4:13).  We truly are new creations, the old is gone (2 Cor 5:17).

In the Parable of the Sower below, the Holy Spirit is planting seeds, He is continually planting seeds into our lives, into the soil of our hearts. (Mark 4:3-8 & 13-20)

3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”

Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

Notice, that the Holy Spirit does the planting of the seeds, He determines what the seed is and brings seed (truth) into our lives in preparation for the future.  He has expectations, based on plans He has for us (Jer 29:11) and plants for what He knows we are going to need in the future.   He plants the seeds in anticipation of the harvest He is expecting in our spiritual and personal lives.   We have no influence or responsibility there, it is the Lord that sows into our spiritual life and produces growth.  It is the Lord that is the Master Gardener(John 15:1 “My Father is the gardener…”) in our lives, but we still have a responsibility to work in the garden of our own spiritual lives.

Our job is to respond, i.e. to create the right environment in our spiritual garden to receive that which He plants in our lives.  This requires that you are tending your garden, your spiritual life, so that you may be “filled to the measure of all the fullness of God”  (Eph 3:16-19).  We are supposed to be making “every effort to add to our faith…” (2 Peter 1:5-11) and making sure that we are productive?  The Spirit expects to find soil ready for the seed.  He does not want to plant it in a path, or on rocks where it is quickly lost, He wants to find the soil of our hearts, ready for truth.

We have to cooperate with the planting process in our lives, allowing the seed to fall on good soil and take root.  

With all this sowing, scripture is clear that God expects us to be a fruitful garden.

  • Matt 7:17 “Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.” So if it is good fruit or bad fruit, God expects us to be bearing something.
  • In John 15:2 “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
  • John 15:5, Jesus tells us: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

The question then is: “Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?” I like that phrase “quite contrary” the definition of the word is “being in character op-positional or against purpose.”  Also: “moving in an opposite direction.”  That just describes me, all of us.  We are always, by our sinful nature, moving in the opposite direction to Christ, His purposes just never seem to be our purposes, His ways not naturally our ways.

Growing our spiritual garden has to be a decision of our hearts, born out of our love for the Lord, because “I am my beloveds, and my beloved is mine.” 

Have you been doing some gardening lately?

Father God, thank you that through the Holy Spirit you are constantly planting seeds of truth into the garden of my heart.  Help me to be more conscientious about spending time in the Word of God, and listening, so that the Spirit will have the opportunity to sew seeds into the soil of my heart.  Help me to make my heart available to the Holy Spirit on a regular basis, so that I may grow spiritual fruit in my life and become even more fruitful.

How to Sow Seeds

Be a Seed Planter

Sew for What You Want to Reap

Be Patient With Faith