A physical garden, has much to teach us about our own spiritual garden. 

If we do the work, our goal will be a spiritual garden in which truth grows, as described in (Psalm 1) “like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.”  When we are planted (well cultivated) in the Lord, we are like this.  We always have the water of His Spirit to sustain us and as a result we are fruitful, no matter what the season is

We experience harvest because for the righteous person in Psalm 1: “Whatever he does prospers.”  Our confidence is in the Lord means that (as in Jeremiah 17:7-8) we do “not fear when heat comes and our leaves are always green.  We have no worries in the year of drought and we never fail to bear fruit.”

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 and character of God Himself into your spirit, with the full expectation that His very life and nature would be reproduced on the inside of you.

Stop and think on that for a moment. A seed if the character of Christ is already planted in 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).  We are to nurture that seed of Jesus planted into our hearts and to grow up until we display the very fullness of Christ, or as the bible describes, a mature believer.

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)

“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed.  As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.  Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain.  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?  The farmer sows the word.  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.  Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy.  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.  Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word;  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.  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.  

Many of us don’t realise that we have responsibility in the garden of our spiritual lives and it is not just all up to God.  In your own life, have you taken responsibility for your own spiritual growth, or have you relied on friends, or spiritual leaders to do the work for you?  Sure God uses them to plant seeds in your life, but have you done the work in your own life to be ready for what is imparted into your life.

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 and what He wants to do in our lives.  It is quite simply that His ways not naturally our ways and we have to make a choice.

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?

Reflection Questions:

  1. Did you read Psalm 1 and Jeremiah 17:7-8?  Never just take my scripture references for granted, look them up and have a look at their context.  The first lesson in cultivating your garden, is that you need the Lord’s toolbox.  This is the bible and in cultivating your spiritual life, never take it for granted. Throughout this study, make a point of looking up the verses so that you become familiar with them during the course of this study.
  2. These passages describe the life of a believer in the imagery of a tree.  If you look at the context of both verses, you will notice that a life with God and a life without God is being contrasted.  What does a life without God promise for a harvest?
  3. Have you ever considered the potential of a seed and what it means for the future?  When you consider that the seed of Christ is planted in your heart, what does that mean for your life and your future?  Write it out in your journal along with the scripture reference.
  4. Read the parable of the sower again, and identify the five types of soil that are mentioned in the parable.  Write them down as you will need them in the next study.  Your heart is the soil for seeds from the Holy Spirit.  Have you taken responsibility for your role in your spiritual growth?  What actions can you point to in your life that prove that you have taken on this responsibility?
  5. How is the fruit in your life?  Can you point to spiritual fruit as described in Gal 5:22-23 growing in your life?
  6. Friend, friend, how does your garden grow?  Are you contrary – moving in the opposite direction of where God wants you to go?

Father God, thank you for the seed of Christ planted in my heart as well as the Holy Spirit, who is constantly planting seeds of truth into the garden of my heart.  Help me to be more conscientious about preparing the soil of my heart for truth.  Help me to do this by 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.

Next: Soil Preparation

Flourish Bible Study

A Planting of the Lord

Be Patient With Faith