Sunday, May 13, 2012

I am Your garden

Song of Solomon 4:12 You are my private garden, my treasure, my bride, a secluded spring, a hidden fountain.  
The Song of Solomon is a love poem written years and years ago.  There is much debate on the meaning of the text and who wrote it and who it is written to.  Many Christians avoid it because of its sensual themes, but there is so much in there that is rich.  Yes, I just pulled this verse from the text and I hope not to take it out of context as I write.  I think if you read the whole passage you will see that lover speaks to lover and it is almost like a dance.  The lyrics are woven in and out from one to another and sometimes I see it as almost a waltz, but more intimate.
The words that really pop out to me are "You are my ... garden."  As I go into my garden, I am given a new depth of what those words connote.  Whether a flower garden, and herb garden, or a vegetable garden, there is a certain pride that one takes when entering their own garden.  A private garden would be even deeper than that.  My own secret place where only I can visit is almost unthinkable.  Well the lover has said that to his beloved.  She is a garden that only he gets to enjoy.
The romance part seems obvious to me and I like to dwell on it and get dreamy-eyed, but today in my own garden, I had an experience worth sharing.  Weeds.  No matter when I go out to my garden, I see weeds and sometimes I work to take care of them and other times, I just water the garden and walk away.  Some days I take my garden hoe and scrape up the weeds between the rows and make the garden look better.  I enjoy walking between the rows of vegetables and pick off a few spinach leaves and nibble on them while I work.
Today, I worked on the weeds in detail as I do every week or so.  After hoeing and making the rows look pretty, I found that it wasn't enough.  There were weeds right up against many a plant that bore fruit.  (Well, actually veggies)
As I removed the weeds I thought about how from a distance, my garden already looked pretty good.  Unless you actually stepped foot into the garden and bent down to harvest something, you may not know that I didn't do a thorough job with my weeding.  You may not now that some of the smaller plants could easily be choked out and roots of other undesirable plants were taking the precious food and drink of the choice fruit.  Even after a good weeding, I still didn't get all of the roots.  In a day or two those yucky things could grow up and continue choking things up if I don't get all of the roots.
In a spiritual application, I can see these levels of "weeding" in my own life.  There are times when I let my guard down and it is pretty plain to see that I really need to get rid of some junk.  I can honestly say that I regularly take care of the surface weeds as soon as I recognize them. This is like hoeing between the rows.  From a distance I look like a Christian and act like a Christian.  I hope that when I meet someone at the grocery store, they can see that I am a good person and maybe even sense the love of Jesus, as someone walking by my garden could from a distance think that I have a nice garden.
The next level is the weeding near the vegetables.  Some of those weeds are easy to spot especially the grass that is shooting up taller than the plants that I desire.  I would consider that like my attitude.  People can see that and sometimes it is near the areas of my life where the Spiritual Fruit is evident.  I show outward signs of displeasure with something and ungodliness is quite evident in me.  I weed these from my garden frequently, but not as often as I run the hoe between the rows.
The last level is the deep.  The places where I can easily hide the weeds.  Today when I moved the spinach and lettuce leaves, I was amazed at how many little tiny weeds were growing beneath them.  I do this thorough weeding the least often because it is very time consuming and tedious.  To my children, who don't notice detail, I really have nothing to worry about once the other 2 levels of weeds are removed.  Well, just because they aren't visible to everyone doesn't mean they are not present.  The worst part about those weeds is that they suck the life out of the plants they surround.  They rob the nutrition and water from the soil that was intended for the fruit.  If I let these little weeds take root in my soul, they will take away from my fruit.
The point of the garden is to bear fruit and the point of my life in Christ is to bear fruit.  I am His garden.  I don't want hidden sin to ruin the fruit in my life.  Even though it is painful and tedious work, I must cleanse myself regularly by seeking His help to rid myself of that which destroys fruit.  No matter if you believe that His grace will cover little sins or if you believe that you must repent each time you sin very quickly, we all must seek to bear fruit.  If we don't care one way or another, then what is the point of living a Christian life?  What is the point of Salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ?

John 15:4-5 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. 5“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

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