The garden is a picture of life. In the beginning, the Garden of Eden is where the Lord God placed man whom He created. He told Adam and Eve to work it and take care of it.
The beginning of everything that our lives produce is the heart. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23). We need to tend to our hearts as a gardener tends to the garden because all the issues of life stem from it.
What happens to a garden left untouched? Weeds, unruly vines, and unwelcome plants sown from wind-blown seeds thrive where the gardener’s hand is absent. The same is true of the heart. Weeds are like the lies of the enemy that incessantly enter our minds. It takes action to remove them. We first identify the lies based on the truth of God’s Word. If what we are hearing, thinking and believing does not agree with what God speaks, we must uproot it. It takes diligence to keep a garden free of weeds. Likewise, it takes a persistent watch over our hearts to weed out the lies of Satan.
I remember a time in my life when I decided I was going to stop putting myself down over my physical appearance. No longer was I going to comment to a friend about my flaws or seek to generate laughter through self-deprecating humor. I concluded that every time I did put myself down privately or publicly, I was making an agreement with the enemy, and I no longer wanted to give him any authority over my life. Can you relate? Have you heard these thoughts creeping into your mind?
You’re not good enough.
This situation will never change.
If only you were …. (smarter, younger, richer, better liked, from the right family, in a different place…)
You’re failure is too great.
You make matters worse.
You’ll never succeed because you don’t have what it takes.
These are lies! The Word of God says just the opposite about you! Get the Scriptures into your heart, so that these weeds do not have a chance to thrive! You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32).
Have you found any unruly vines growing in your heart? I liken them to family traditions void of life that get handed down to us unknowingly. We too quickly accept negative things in our lives because of the acceptance our family members have given them. It’s the same when I’m trying to separate a vine from a shrub in my garden. I grab at the vine and pull but cannot seem to find where it is sourced. Obviously, a neighbor planted this vine and is okay with it growing in their yard, but that doesn’t mean it belongs in my yard, too. I believe there are vines like that in our hearts. We wonder why certain beliefs exist and start pulling at them to find the root, but it seems there’s a never-ending trail of tendrils attached to all areas of our lives. For example, if you have a family tradition of saying your last name is synonymous with bad luck, then that belief makes attachments to all types of attitudes and behaviors in your life. It is a crummy way to live, yet many people just accept this way of life because it is something that they always heard and seen. No wonder there is so much evidence to support the belief of bad luck. Have you ever heard that our words are the architect of our lives?
Here are some beliefs growing like vines that we need to kill off now.
We get sick often. If someone else has it, we’ll get it.
Nothing comes easily for our family. We’ve always struggled and always will.
If there wasn’t such a thing as bad luck, we’d have no luck at all.
We’re a lazy bunch!
We’ve always been slow learners. Academics is just not our thing.
God skipped our family when He handed out grace and coordination. We’re a bunch of klutzes.
It’s our lot in life to barely get by. As long as we don’t have to beg on the streets, we’ll be okay.
Really? Are we that desperate to belong to something that we will so willingly accept a life of low expectations in place of Jesus’ offer of abundant life in Him?
What are we doing with the plants growing in our gardens that we never intended to grow? It’s common for me to uproot a pine sprout or tiny oak tree from my flower beds. Why not just let them grow? Listen, if I never touch the garden again, it will return to its pre-cultivated state. Before we built our home, the small lot of land we purchased was completely wooded. But, we cleared trees and plant growth to make room for our future dwelling. That’s what we do with our hearts as well. We clear out things to make room for God’s dwelling within us. Just like an unwanted tree seed blown in by the wind will grow and compete for the nourishing resources of the soil, likewise the clutter in our lives competes for our attention and devotion to God.
Have you given consideration lately to whether or not the following are draining your heart from its ability to focus on cultivating your relationship with the Father in heaven?
Building your career.
Growing your ministry.
Pursuing many athletic, artistic and social activities for each child.
Renovating, redecorating and searching for new things to buy.
Social media dependency.
Planning for the next big thing.
Like the saplings I uproot, none of these are bad in and of themselves. However, our lives require focus and balance so that we don’t tip the scale and lose a heart for God.
It’s your heart, Child of God, and you need to treat it as you do a garden. Get in there and uproot the lies, kill off the life-sucking traditions and make room for the One who belongs and deems your heart, “His dwelling place.”