Summer is a beautiful time of year, but for gardeners, it is labor intensive. The Bible teaches us many lessons about sowing and reaping, which, when applied, have proven quite successful. These same principles apply to cultivating a righteous heart, defined in the Bible as our will and understanding.
Be a Purposeful Gardener
A successful garden requires purposeful effort. The key principle is to be purposeful. There is a reason behind each aspect of gardening. Follow good gardening practices, and you will have a productive garden. Follow Biblical teaching and you will have a righteous heart that is pleasing to God.
Everyone knows the worst part of gardening is pulling the weeds. It is tempting to leave some behind because they seem so small and insignificant. Big mistake! Weeds are like sin. Leave one untouched and it grows and spreads. There are no shortcuts when it comes to sin. Galatians 6 provides basic principles in dealing with the weeds of the heart.
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galations 6:7-9 (KJV)
There seems to be no way to totally eliminate all the weeds. They get stuck behind rocks, or attached to a wall, and sometimes they are mistaken for flower specimens. In times past, I was tempted to try to bury those pesky weeds under piles of dirt. No matter how hard I tried, they eventually came back. There always seems to be a remnant of sin in our hearts too. No matter how hard we try to stop sinning, the sinful heart is ever present. The Bible tells us how to handle those relentless sins in Proverbs 28.
“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” Proverbs 28:13
Protect Your Garden From Weeds
Weeds do a lot of damage to a garden. They rob the “good” plants of nutrients, take up much needed growing room, and smother tender seedlings. Since they grow so closely among the good plants, it is often difficult to uproot the weed without damaging or pulling up the good plant.
“He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” Matthew 13:22-23
We can learn a lot from the parable of the sower in Matthew 13. Jesus explains how good seeds are affected by adverse conditions. They are eaten by birds, burned up by the sun, and choked by thorns. It is not easy to grow good things. It takes effort, diligence, and vigilance to make sure a good crop is harvested. So too a righteous heart.
The Bible speaks about the condition of the heart throughout the Old and New Testaments. We learn the heart is wicked, and in need of purifying for it to become a righteous heart. We try and try to do a thorough cleansing, but often our best efforts are proven to fall short. We cannot make our hearts righteous.
Only the blood of Jesus can purify a heart. His death on a cross is the means by which His blood has covered our sin, redeeming us to a new life. He took the punishment we so richly deserve for our disobedience to God. Those who confess their sin and accept Jesus as Savior and Lord will be cleansed and given a new life. How wonderful it is to be cleansed and forgiven! It’s like starting a new garden in good soil!
A New Garden
At last our heart garden is what it was created to be. Our bent to sin is still present, but now with the power of the Holy Spirit, our Comforter, who was sent to us after Jesus was resurrected and ascended to Heaven, we have hope.
The Bible teaches us how to have a righteous heart. It is filled with key verses that teach us the concept of righteousness. It is our guidebook to peace with God, who creates in us a righteous heart. Faith in God gives us the assurance that He keeps His Word.
When you look at your flower beds filled with weeds, be thankful it is not a picture of your heart choked with weeds of sin. Give thanks to God for His cleansing power and gift of redemption resulting in a transformation of your heart garden.