Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Not Perfect Yet

Back in October 2013 I posted an illustration about planting a garden. I recounted it as best as I could remember it. After reflection I realized it needed some refining. Speaking in literal terms, regardless of what you intentionally plant in a garden, weeds will grow. It is just a fact of life. That is why gardening requires more than just planting. It requires maintenance and regular attention.

This is true also In an illustrative way. We plant a seed or root stock when we start to really apply what we learn from the Bible. Initially, we may work the ground of our hearts and minds to get them ready to accept the seed of truth. That is to say, we make a commitment to learn about God and His word, The Bible. Then the seed starts to grow as both we ourselves and others begin to recognize that God’s Word is having a real, observable effect on us. It has affected change for the better in us. But just as an initial planting requires watering, we also need to constantly water ourselves by daily reading the Bible. The area of the new planting also requires weeding to prevent the new plant from being choked out. Just like that literal plant, we continue to be surrounded by evil that can choke our spiritual aspirations. There is also our imperfect human nature that tugs at our desires. It is then no wonder that Paul wrote “Not that I have already received it or am already made perfect, but I am pressing on to see if I may also lay hold on that for which Christ Jesus selected me.” Phil.3:12

Yes, we are far from perfect after our initial acceptance of God in our lives. We need to both nourish ourselves spiritually and “keep working out [y]our own salvation with fear and trembling.”

So to restate the illustration:
If you plant a rose, you will get a rose, along with some weeds that you will constantly have to pull.

If you plant weeds, you will never get a rose, just weeds.

If you plant nothing, you still get weeds because in the absence of positive effort to improve your spiritual life, you will still end up with disapproval from God and Jesus.

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