Christian Living

Spiritual Life

The Faithful Gardener

“This is never going to end.” As I scraped the dirt, I stopped to look at all of the grass roots sticking out of the ground. “How did they get there?” I thought.

In our new azalea and hydrangea garden, grass had crept back, finding tiny holes among the chips of cedar mulch to bury its roots. This particular area of the garden had so many stubborn grass roots that I panted and had to take a break from pulling them out. My garden hoe helped to expose the roots, but I had to pull each root out by hand.

Yet I was determined. I didn’t want the grass roots choking the roots of my baby hydrangea.

“Father, I’m so sorry. Please forgive me.”

The scenario hit me full force. How many times have I let a bad attitude or wrong way of thinking take root in my heart and mind? All it needed was a little room to grow, and it created stubborn roots, difficult to pull out.

My prayer for forgiveness turned into gratitude. “Thank You, Father, for being so patient with me.” God is so loving and faithful to work in the lives of His children, tending the garden of our hearts and minds.

"Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6 NKJV)

He’ll complete that good work. He won’t stop. No matter how deep the roots go of a harmful way of thinking, feeling, or acting. If we have turned to fear instead of faith, God knows how to rescue us from it. If our default reaction to difficult people or circumstances is intense anger, He knows how to root that out. If the same old habit tries to creep back into our lives and choke out strength and joy, He knows how to guard us if we turn to Him for help.

God’s goal for us is to become more and more like Jesus, to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29 NKJV). Righteousness is Jesus’ way of thinking, feeling, and acting. The roots of righteousness are tenacious fibers made out of love, strength, and victory. They are composed of perseverance and faithfulness. And they produce an eternal impact for God’s kingdom.

So God uproots fear and worry and plants seeds of faith in our hearts instead. He uncovers the twisted roots of anger and replaces it with understanding, patience, and His perspective. He shakes loose the creeping tendrils of a me-centered focus and instills within us an eternal focus—on things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:2 NKJV).

God builds within us a garden of beauty and strength, of joy and peace. He makes it appealing so that those around us can see the difference that He makes in our lives and they want to know Him too. To know Him as the One who rescues their own hearts and minds.

If a particular struggle is choking out Jesus’ righteousness in your mind and heart, appeal to the faithful Gardener for help. I’ve cried out to Him so many times to uproot something harmful. His faithful heart moves Him to always work within us, but He needs our cooperation. Life with God is a partnership, and becoming more like Jesus is a lifelong process that produces beautiful results.

How is the faithful Gardener working in your life today? May we always cooperate with His liberating work.

© Copyright 2021 by Katy Kauffman, used with permission.

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