AN UNTENDED GARDEN
Paul taught the Christians in Galatia how to tend the garden of their spirit. Like the Galatians, we have both good and bad things trying to grow in us. Some things are desirable to grow while other things are weeds that need to be removed.
As new followers of Jesus, the Galatians began to live a new life with God’s Spirit in them. But other voices around them were trying to tell them how the garden of their spiritual life should be tended. The old influences reasoned that men should be circumcised like the Jews and they should try to regulate their lives with Old Testament law.
The reason God gave the Law to His people was to identify their motivations and point out the behaviour He was looking to grow in us. The Law clearly proved that we are naturally selfish and compulsively do harmful things. The Law was a gardener’s handbook identifying the weeds that needed removal. The Old Testament showed the need, but did not provide the power to solve the problem. Jesus would provide the seed we needed to plant to grow something better.
Two different things are growing inside you. One is the selfish, compulsive nature and the second is the nature of Jesus. The selfish nature is comparable to weeds that have no problem taking over your garden. All you have to do to have a field of weeds is let them grow. They will overtake the ground and crowd out the good plants.
Paul says that there is within each of us a war between the sinful, weed-like nature and the godly fruit-bearing nature. The destructive weeds will be allowed to grow or the productive fruit-bearing plant will be tended. You cannot pull weeds one day and pull out the fruit-bearing plants the next. A good gardener determines what they want to grow in their garden.
If we choose to submit to God’s plan for us, we are choosing to let good things grow in us. The only reason to ever pull up weeds is a pre-determination to grow something better. What do you want your life to be about? If you choose to be led by God, you choose to do battle against the sinful, selfish nature within.
There is something so insidious about a person who is selfishly motivated. No matter how beautiful the flower, the weed is an enemy to growing something better. It’s easier to let things grow wild, but there is nothing that will nourish and sustain you. Paul described what a self-centred life looks like.
Relationships are insurmountable challenges to the self-absorbed. No-one can satisfy or bring completion to their chaos. And the darkness spreads like crabgrass. If we do not choose to make room for godliness in our lives, the darkness will take over the whole yard. The untended land needs preparation to turn into a thriving garden of good things.
No-one is beyond redemption. The hardest, vilest person who surrenders to God is implanted with the seeds of His good character. It’s waiting to grow.