Saturday, August 20, 2011

Food for the Spirit -- The Barren Land

Last month I wrote on "the Secret Garden".  This morning as I sit on my patio buffeted by the hot desert wind and look out at the rocky, barren landscape I am visibly reminded that if I do not cultivate my "Secret Garden" I will become like the land around me.  Empty, barren, hard, not very useful.

The Master Sower cannot plant seeds of love or joy or kindness or mercy in my life if my soul is hardened and dry.  The Israelites of the Old Testament tried God's patience many times over and He called them a stiff necked people.   The Lord had rescued them from slavery in Egypt and not long after that miraculous occurrence they had made themselves a golden calf to worship; "And the Lord said to Moses, I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people;" (Exodus 32:9)

God wants to give us a new heart:  "And I will give them one heart [a new heart] and I will put a new spirit within them; and I will take the stony [unnaturally hardened] heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh [sensitive and responsive to the touch of their God]," (Ezekiel 11:19)

But He cannot water my Spirit if I will not drink freely of the water of His Word which washes my hardened heart and cleanses it for His use.   "So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, " (Ephesians 5:26)

The seed He wishes to grow in my life will not germinate if the ground of my life is not cultivated and made ready to receive nourishment from Him.  Webster defines cultivate as having to do with the raising of crops, to prepare a place for the raising of them, to loosen or breakup soil, to foster growth, to improve by labor, care or study.

Oops -- sounds uncomfortable if God has to do it in my life -- all that plowing and harrowing and raking.  And it requires labor and study if I decide to do it myself.  Better that I should spend time in His Word and in His Presence -- not seeking what He can do for me but seeking to know Him and what He wants to do in me. 

I am reminded of --  "But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides."  (Matthew 6:33)

This is certainly not an easy task, especially in this fast-paced world of computer, cell phones, and day runners but necessary if we do not want to look like this:
I don't want to be a thorny Christian who has access to rich soil and refreshing spring water but refuses to take the steps necessary to become a beautiful rose.
God freely gives us of His Spirit when we commit our way to Him but He doesn't force us to live it.  His Spirit speaks to us in a still, small voice -- not a booming yell.

1Kings 19:12  "And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire [a sound of gentle stillness and] a still, small voice."

He desires only good for us but He requires that we heed His voice and walk in His way to receive all the blessings He has prepared for us.

After baptism it's our choice -- do we remain like barren, hard, unproductive soil that blows away into dust or do we allow God's Spirit in us to mold us and make us more like Him.  "Yet, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our Potter, and we all are the work of Your hand." (Isaiah 64:8)

May we give way to the Master Potter,


All Scripture from the Amplified Bible

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