September 23, 2020

A Cultivated Life

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 23, 2020

But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died. Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Mark 4:6-8

I’ve never been much of a gardener. Every year Rita and I have goals for a healthy and vibrant garden, but we never end up with much of a harvest. Perhaps instead of a green thumb I have a black one. I’m always disappointed when the harvesting season comes around and I don’t have much to show for it. When I try to evaluate why my garden isn’t much of a success, I am faced with one major reason that stands out above any other: neglect.

Both Rita and I live busy lives. So, in the midst of work schedules, supporting our children, grandparenting and frequent travel during the critical spring and summer months, our poor backyard garden doesn’t get the attention it needs. Even if it started out with a glorious vision, it soon descends into a weed-ridden mess. That’s because my garden needs attention if it is going to thrive and flourish. I’ve learned that unless I’m willing to make my garden a priority, then it probably isn’t going to amount to much. True gardeners are intentional in doing the hard work.

Our spiritual lives are much like a garden. They need attention/cultivating if there is going to be flourishing and growth. Like an attentive and faithful gardener, we have to put the time in. We have to pull some spiritual and mental “weeds” so they don’t choke out the truth. We need to water and fertilize to keep the soil a good place for growing. We may need to trim back some of the unnecessary vines (spiritually they have entangled us with unhealthy attachments). 

If we do all that, we’ll have a fruitful garden. And if we do the same in our spiritual life, we’ll see growth and abundance. Discipline is necessary for fruitfulness, and one of the most important disciplines is spending time in the Word of God. It is living water that can flood even the most dry and parched soil. Root yourself in that nourishing soil. Drink deep of its wisdom. Learn from the Master Gardner—your heavenly Father (John 15)—He will convict you of sin and cultivate a life of love and obedience. Avoid neglect and submit to the cultivating power of Christ as your life! 

“Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:16).

Prayer

Heavenly Father, cultivate my heart of love and weed out my anger and fears in Jesus’ name, Amen.


Application

How can I be more intentional to cultivate Christ’s character in my life?


Related Reading

Proverbs 22:8; Galatians 6:7-10; 2 Corinthians 9:6-11; Luke 6:38

Check out Boyd’s newest 40 day devotional book: Wisdom For Living


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Discipline is necessary for fruitfulness, and one of the most important disciplines is spending time in the Word of God. #gardener #WisdomHunters #truth #Jesus


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6 minute video: Gaither Vocal Band: 


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