I broke new ground in a garden this summer. In year’s past, I have cheated with raised beds, bagged soil, and starter plants. For the first time, I did it the old fashioned way with tilled clay and seeds. Time will tell of the results from my labor, but this visual helps me better understand and appreciate the value of harvest, and even biblical truth.
With changes in season, I am not the only one who has a garden. Many have planted seeds or starter plants in the hopes of summer vegetables and a fresh tomato sandwich. The benefits of our expected outcome assume that extensive preparation and labor have been done, or else weeds and scorching summer sun will ruin the taste and experience.
As we read Ephesians 4:22-24 there is a clear emphasis placed on three verbs: put off, renew, and put on.
This correlates well to the labor of a new garden. The one-time act of breaking ground is a reminder of the one-time act of putting off our old man. This great exchange, or conversion, is a soul level reboot of our life. 2 Corinthians 15 describes the new creation or regeneration, which results in a new life in Christ.
As you reflect on your conversion experience and confession of Jesus as the boss of your life, I encourage you to share that story with others, and commit to a daily renewal of faith.
The beauty of that freshly prepared and planted garden can quickly be consumed by weeds and scorched by the sun without deliberate care and attention. God has challenged and called His children to a pursuit of holiness that is rooted in truth. This will need a daily renewal that emphasizes a progressive and continual commitment.
Just like a garden requires daily attention, my faith requires a daily pursuit of Christ. For me, this involves a daily recognition of Christ’s authority over all areas of my life. It influences me to acknowledge my weakness and a desire to know Him more leads me to pray and read His Word, the Bible.
This is not a ritualistic life if disciplined habit that leads to religion. Rather this is born out of a relationship and desire to know Him more, be with the One I love, and please Him. Be encouraged, and take a moment to evaluate your personal pursuit of your relationship with Jesus. Does it mirror a weed-infested garden or a growing ground that produces fruit?
As we commit to put on Christ and produce the fruit of righteousness in our individual lives, we will see the collective church of God more resemble His image, His nature, His thoughts, and His mission. A forged church is unified and walking in rhythm with the Spirit of God.
My prayer for you and for Jesus’ church is that we will look like Him and celebrate our communion with other saints who bear His name. Maybe when we enjoy that tomato sandwich this summer, it will be with other believers over a shared meal and we can reflect on our individual efforts to put off the old and put on the new.