Several weeks ago I mentioned that the purpose of bearing the fruit of the Spirit is for the benefit of others and the glory of God, not ourselves. That was a new perception for me—maybe for you as well.
While I was contemplating this “new” truth, the Lord gave me this garden metaphor to help me, a gardener, better understand. I hope it’ll help you, too.
Imagine a world containing especially unusual plants which have minds, eyes, ears, and mouths—a kind of plant-animal hybrid. There are two areas in this world—one belonging to the Master Gardener and one wild. The Gardener loves all the diverse vegetation in this world and transplants all willing individuals into His rich garden where they can thrive.
He abundantly supplies them with Son-shine and Living Water and fertilizes them with His Word. He tends them, knowing their exact needs. Under His loving care, each plant will produce some fruit—some thirty, sixty, or hundred fold.
The duty of each individual plant there is to grow and be beautiful in the eyes of the Gardener and bear fruit so others can admire His handiwork. Together, all the plants will display the greatness and majesty of the Master Gardener. This will create a longing among the wild plants to be transplanted into this wonderful garden. There, they can also flourish and be healthy because they are loved and nurtured; enabled to also produce a bountiful harvest.
The unique beauty of each plant and the combined effect of all the individuals is a sight to behold and brings much pleasure to the Grower. Additionally, this environment stimulates each plant to produce even more fruit for His pleasure.
Now each of these specimens reveals the fruit of the Gardener’s Spirit differently—the grandeur of a mighty oak, the prolificness of a squash, and the daintiness of a small flower. Each is uniquely designed, cultivated, and valued by Him. All bring Him individual pleasure as they display His handiwork and fulfill their intended purpose.
Each of these plants can distinctively speak and encourage others to mature and be fruitful, but they cannot make them grow. At times, the Gardener transplants individuals next to a new or weak plant for support until they can develop their own root system and not topple over during inclement weather. However, only that individual can expand his roots. Enabled by the Gardener, each is responsible for their own growth, not others. Knowing this, the flourishing plant can rest in the wisdom of the Gardener, and not cause undue stress to himself. In that way, his own growth will be strengthened and not hindered.
So the question each plant in this beautiful garden should ask is:
- Will I reach deep with my roots to access the Living Water and grow strong?
- Will I feed on the Word which The Master Gardener has so amply provided?
- Will I position my leaves to absorb all the glorious rays of the Son so spiritual photosynthesis can occur?
- Will I act and speak to encourage others to know The Gardener and grow?
- Will I allow my Gardener to prune or transplant me so I can produce a harvest of righteousness and peace?
- Will I live in such a way so as not to mar the magnificent display of God’s glorious garden?
What will you do, my fellow plant?