“Tend to the soil of your heart to ensure the seed of faith has optimal conditions in which it can grow.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 25, 2023
By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. 2 Timothy 1:14, ESV
Last year my wife and I planted a small orchard on our land, with dreams of cider and pies in our near-term future. Unfortunately, the local deer population shared our dream and has spent the past year slowly nibbling away at our newly established plants. Though we made several attempts to dissuade and redirect them, it wasn’t until we put hog wire fences around each tree that the tides turned in our favor.
I’d like you to keep this simple image in mind as you read today’s passage from 2 Timothy. So often, words like “guard” or “protect” take on a militant tone, with aggressive force or extreme defenses the default pictures that come to mind. Yet when it comes to faith and the life of the Spirit, I think we are far better served by agrarian images of tending to plants than we are by Mission Impossible-styled defense systems.
We must actively tend to the soil of our hearts to ensure the seed of faith has optimal conditions in which it can grow. Similarly, we must embrace the gift of fences and limits in order to preserve and protect the goodness of the life within. This work of “guarding the good deposit” also requires attentiveness and discernment, knowing what forms of protection are needed in any given season.
In their infancy, our apple trees need additional protection from outside threats, yet as they mature, they become more resilient and resistant to the forces around them. Is the same not true in our own lives as well? In the early stages of our life with Christ, wisdom invites additional care for your spiritual health, even saying “no” to outside influences for a season in order to more fully form your life in the ways of Jesus. Yet as you grow, he may invite you to more and more embrace an outward posture. Like a mature tree under which animals find rest, perhaps the Lord is inviting you to be a refuge and protection to someone else in need of shelter.
Father, thank you for the gift of life in the Spirit. Help us to tend to this life, protecting it when needed and opening to others as you give us strength, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
In what ways is your life in Christ overly exposed to the elements and in need of protection, nurture, and care?
Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 1 Peter 3:15-17
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