“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray, that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:16-19 New International Version
I have never been one for the fine art of gardening! I think I’ve mentioned in a past post my antipathy for making art, although not for enjoying what others have created. I quite enjoy the creative gifts God has blessed in others whether it’s paintings, sculpture, pottery, sketches, drawings, etc. However, when it comes to the creative arts and my abilities there is a definite parting of the ways!
Back to gardening, my mom was very fond of gardening although she wasn’t always able to carry it out. She was first diagnosed with cancer when I was 2 years old. The second time she was diagnosed I was 10 and she was just graduating from the LVN program. My mom had always wanted to be a nurse, but when she was younger her parents decided she needed to come home from college, ending her hopes to become a nurse. So when she was finally able to return to school, graduate ready to enter the work force as a nurse, and to finally realize her dream it was all for nothing! The next 8 years were spent watching her die. She never did get to be a nurse, she was way too ill from the chemo and radiation treatments. Thus ended my participation in her gardens!
Once again, back to the gardening. As I said, my mom loved gardening, I did not. However this didn’t deter her from including me in the upkeep of her chosen hobby. I did learn that in order for the garden to thrive it needed the seeds to be planted so they could become rooted and established! There is no other way for plants to grow as they are supposed to do if they aren’t allowed to become rooted and established. Yet, they can’t be expected to be rooted and established in just any soil, it has to be the best if they are to produce the best fruit. This means the soil has to be prepared for the seeds, and made ready to receive that which will grow in it! Sound familiar to anyone?
Jesus told His disciples they would need to become fruitful, words hearkening back to the very beginning! Yes, that beginning, the one where God placed Adam and Eve into a special Garden giving them the responsibility of being fruitful and multiplying. Later, we find God approaching Abram, a resident of Ur of the Chaldees. God has a very strange request for Abram. Will he leave his home and travel to a place God will tell him about when he arrives? Also, God promises to make of him a mighty nation, one which will number greater than the sands of the sea, or more than the stars in the heavens. All this promised to a man who had no children. He and his wife were even at the time of the promise, past child bearing age! Yet, there it was, the promise of being fruitful and multiplying, the being rooted and established into all the knowledge of the love of God!
It was knowledge of God’s love that was Adam and Eve’s joy as they entered into the garden home God provided! The garden, a metaphor for life, a picture revealing a process which included the need to be deeply rooted into soil filled with the nutrients needed for growth. Then being established in the soil, the process of bearing fruit could begin in the fullness of time. Just as God had given Adam and Eve the responsibility of tending the garden, He had given to them the added responsibility to also be fruitful and multiply, to fill the garden with their children. It would have been an entirely different world if there hadn’t the snake in the grass!
That serpent changed everything, or was it the serpent’s fault? Some of you may be aware of Steven Fry, most of you may not know who he is. Steven Fry is a British comedian, television personality, author, producer, Oxford graduate, a highly respected thinker in Great Britain. Recently He was interviewed for an upcoming BBC special. In the interview he was asked if he met God in the afterlife, what would he say to God? It wasn’t very complimentary to say the least. In a nutshell, Steven Fry declared God as cruel, hateful, and not worth worshiping for all the suffering He inflicts on humanity, then demands we thanks Him on our knees!
It has become so easy to blame others for everything that’s wrong in the world, in our nation, state, county, city, block, home, bedroom, mind, etc. We are willing blame everyone for everything that is wrong in everything we have to experience, everyone except ourselves! It’s never our fault for the choices we make, ever! Pollution, blame God! Crime, blame God! Infectious Disease, blame God!
You get the picture, right? Sure you do. As soon as I started you knew where this was going. That’s because humanity has been playing the “Blame Game” since we ran into The Snake in the Grass, or more accurately The Serpent in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil! From the moment Adam and Eve messed with the Serpent the Blame Game became the most popular game played on this planet! We humans are experts.
So, what is growing in the character of our lives? What seeds have been planted in our hearts and minds? What is it we are rooted and established in that is determining the fruit that grows in our lives? We still have the mandate from God to be fruitful and multiply, only it’s taken a little adjustment. The fruit being grown in our lives is the Fruit of the Spirit, the list of which is found in Galatians 5:22-23. This fruit which is cultivated by the Holy Spirit, also sown by the Holy Spirit, comes when we are rooted and established in love, the soil needed for the Fruit to prosper. Have no fear, the soil is produced in us by the same one producing the Fruit, the Holy Spirit! Because just as we cannot produce the fruit, neither can we conjure up the soil. It is provided by the Holy Spirit in the same way He provides everything else in our Garden of Grace that will produce exactly what God desires.
God desires we grab this reality, pulling it into our deepest places. The love of Christ is wider and longer and higher and deeper than we have ever imagined! God further desires we know, without doubt, this love that surpasses any knowledge. Why? God desires we be filled to the fullest measure of all the fullness of God.
Are you getting this? Rather than God holding anything back from us, He desires we experience to the utmost extreme everything He has for us! Nothing held back. His love, grace, mercy, joy, peace, all that describes who God is He wraps around us like Mary wrapped the baby Jesus, holding us firmly in the Grace that has been ours since before the foundations of the earth were laid!
One day soon I’m looking forward to planting a garden with my mom in her backyard at her home in the New Earth. I’ll introduce her to the most amazing granddaughters any grandmother has had. Then as we work together in that garden, in new soil, in the New Earth, I’ll listen as grandmother and granddaughters sing a New Song to the God who made sure they were rooted and established in His love, filled to the measure of all the fullness of their Creator! Maybe gardening isn’t such a bad hobby after all!
“And now just as you trusted Christ to save you, trust him, too, for each day’s problems; live in vital union with him. Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him. See that you go on growing in the Lord, and become strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with joy and thanksgiving for all he has done.” Colossians 2:6-7 Living Bible
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