Monday, July 12, 2010

The Garden

"Awake, north wind,
and come, south wind!
Blow on my garden,
that its fragrance may spread abroad.
Let my lover come into his garden
and taste its choice fruits." Song of Solomon 4:16

There's a song I've been listening to lately with many of these words in it. It's a lovely song, and every time I have it going through my head, I swear I can feel a gentle wind just blowing over me. I learned yesterday that these words are found in Song of Solomon, which I have to admit, I seldom turn to in my Bible readings. But turn, I did, and I discovered something, I discovered that as much as I love to garden myself, as much as I understand the language of gardening, that I, myself, am a garden.

Think about it. We are told in scripture that we are to bear fruit- what does a garden do? It bears fruit- the fruits of our labor, for gardeners, is a basket full of fruits and vegetables that we can enjoy. Plucking one tomato brings such joy to me- and as I thought about the great joy that my garden can bring me when it produces- how much more joy can I bring to the Master Gardener?

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22-23

A garden needs constant attention. As the gardener, it is my job to pluck out weeds, prevent pests from getting my plants if possible, and protecting the tender plants from being attacked by small animals. I also need to fertilize and water, and just spend time- pretty much every day- checking up on my garden, making sure everything is as it should be. In order for it to bear fruit for me, I need to give it constant attention.

Do you know that God gives us the same constant attention? And He gives us the tools we need to get rid of the weeds and to prevent being attacked. He gives us His precious Words to help us keep the yuck out and take in the good. And then He gives us the good. He gives us the Bible which we can use every day to strengthen us and give us the nutrients we need to go another day. The more time we spend in our Bible, the deeper our roots will grow, the better our chances of bearing good fruit become.

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He 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 15:1-2

As a gardener, one of the most difficult things for me to do is to prune my plants. Logic tells me that if I leave those branches, they could potentially bear more fruit for me in the future. But the reality is that the extra branches sap the energy out of the fruit-bearing branches. I need to lovingly prune off those extra branches, so the plant can concentrate its energy on the branches that bear fruit. When we go through a season of pruning, that's exactly what God is doing. He's very lovingly removing those things in our lives that are a hindrance to us- that are preventing our fruit from growing on our more productive branches. Those things that take my energy and attention away from Him need to be pruned away, and I need to submit my garden to Him, and trust that as my Master Gardener, he truly does know what is best for me. He knows what is needlessly taking my energy and focus away from Him- even when I don't realize it.

I want His wind to blow on my garden. I want that Holy Spirit to blow on me and cause me to bloom and grow, so that I can be fruitful for Him. Many plants in gardens today need wind in order to have successful pollination. It's the wind that gets the pollen to where it needs to go in order for fruit to produce. When the winds of the Spirit are upon me, I desire for Him to blow away the dust and the chaff and to enable the fruit to blossom and grow abundantly for His Glory. For that's what the fruit is for. It's not for me- it's not for me to show off and say look at me- look at all this fruit I bear. It's all for Him- for His glory and His Honor.

I'm going to leave this post today with one more look at Song of Solomon 4:16, only this time it will be the Amplified version. Let it speak to you today. Let it flow through you and fill you with peace and wonderment at the joyous and wonderful world that God has created. The first line here says "you have called me a garden". This means you. God is calling you a garden today, and I pray that His wind will blow upon you and fill you with abundance for His glory.

"[You have called me a garden, she said] Oh, I pray that the [cold] north wind and the [soft] south wind may blow upon my garden, that its spices may flow out [in abundance for you in whom my soul delights]. Let my beloved come into his garden and eat its choicest fruits." Song of Solomon 4:16 (AMP)

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