I was digging to plant my first Azalea a few days ago, and I got to thinking about how our spiritual lives are in many ways similar to the work that I do when preparing to plant a shrub.
To make sure that the plant is healthy and does well in the location where you have planted it, you need to give it the right kind of soil to grow. Each plant is unique- so you have to pay attention to the particular conditions that really help that plant to be healthy.
We need healthy soil to be planted in- I like to look at this as our home life- what we do with our time during the day- what we are putting into our brains, what we are thinking about? How much time do you spend focused on God and eternal things and how much time either escaping or focusing on things of this world?
How deep is your foundation? Do you have basic knowledge and understanding of God’s Word? When you feel tempted or discouraged, or stressed- do you have passages of Scripture that you look to for comfort? Do you spend time in prayer- or do you head to the fridge, television, video games, or alcohol to escape? (This was very convicting for me- we talked about this at BSF last week)
Sometimes you have to remove rocks or take out a lot of the native soil because the plant needs a different mix to provide better drainage or to help encourage the roots to reach down deeper for water.
What do you need to take out of your life? What is lingering in the soil of your soul, keeping you from continuing to grow closer to Christ? What secret sin are you unwilling to let go of???
When you water the plant, you water for long periods, letting the water soak down deep, encouraging the roots to extend downward rather than staying close to the surface of the ground.
Do you have a solid root system? Does your faith run deep, not easily shaken by life circumstances? How do you respond when bad things happen to people? How do you handle the doubts in your life- are you confident in the promises of Scripture?
Do you know the promises that we can claim as children of God? Can you list some of the attributes of God’s character and point to places in Scripture that support your list?
A thick layer of mulch is necessary to keep the plant cool and to help hold moisture in the soil and keep weeds at bay.
What weeds have taken over in your soil? Are there things that choke you daily and discourage you- do you feel like you are fighting a losing battle?
Do you use Scripture to combat those areas of weakness in your life? Do you pray when hard times come or you lose your temper and say something that you regret? Do you seek forgiveness from those you have wronged and from God?
Have you spent time preparing your soul today? Are you so busy that you don’t have time to stop and even ponder the state of your soul? What can you change- no matter how small- to make a conscious effort to make time for God today?
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”