Last updated on October 29, 2023
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
This spring, I’ve spent a lot of time gardening. I bought seeds and seedlings and have hydroponics plants and soil plants. Tending to their needs reminds me of God’s original garden. Even back then, God needed a gardener.
So He put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, perfected by His Holiness. No weeds grew up, no invaders contaminated it, and no sin possessed it. God made the first humans, created in His image, the caretakers of His perfect garden.
We all know how this story ended when the serpent deceived Eve, and sin became part of human existence. I look forward to the day when God restores His perfect garden. Sin will no longer crouch at the door of my heart, and I won’t struggle with doing those things that I don’t want to do and not doing the things God created me to do. That is part of our human existence until we enter God’s glory.
Sometimes, nature provides spiritual lessons that speak to my heart about the glory of God. I catch glimpses of God in my earthly garden as I contemplate His future garden in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Recently, I transplanted an orchid that I bought a few years ago. The orchid was not thriving as it could have, and partly out of guilt, I decided to do something to help it enjoy a better life. I’d see blossoming orchids at the nursery and remember my sad orchids just surviving.
I bought soil dedicated to orchids, read about the needs of orchids, put my two plants under a special grow light, and watered them with dedicated orchid food. A few days later, I noticed a lower leaf turning brown and eventually falling off one of my orchids. But I also saw a new leaf popping out, and the appearance of two other healthy leaves had improved.
I thought about my orchid plant. It discarded a “spent” leaf to focus on the still vibrant leaves while using its remaining resources to create a new leaf. Eventually, those healthy leaves will provide the nutrients for the plant to bloom. After all, that’s what God created orchids to do—to produce stunning flowers that capture the eyes of the beholder.
I thought about the leaf the plant discarded. In a symbolic sense. Am I a discarded leaf, a new leaf, or one being renewed? Can God still use me, or do I risk being pulled up? In the body of Christ, we are either thriving or surviving and those that are neither—that’s a scary place to be. As it says in Romans 1:28, “…God gave them over to a debased mind…”
As the days become shorter until Jesus’ return, we must be busy with our Father’s business. We want to feast on His Word, bloom where God plants us and spread His love to those on the brink of a debased mind. Once that happens, God will no longer invest in their redemption. It’s too late for that person, like a dying leaf beyond saving.
Recently, I went to Walmart and bought almost three dozen Dusty Miller plants, not because I’m in love with Dusty Miller plants, but because they were at death’s door. They badly needed watering, and I knew I could save them if I took them home. And that’s what I did. I planted them, and now they are happy plants. As God’s garden caretaker, I rescued them from certain death. A couple of more days, however, and it would have been too late.
We never know how much time we have. We must allow God to be the roots and the vine of our lives. We know our hearts become more rigid the longer we ignore Him. If we wait, it may be too late. Our bad habits become engrained in our everyday lives, and sin, always lurking at the door, takes over our thoughts.
In a metaphorical sense, God can remove us in favor of healthier or new leaves. He wants His followers to do more than survive. He wants them to thrive. If we discard those things that hinder us, we can become all God created us to be in this world and store up treasures for His Glory in the next. Feed on the Gardener’s Word, soak in His Light, and bloom where God plants you.
PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, help me to feed off Your Word so that I can spread the ”Good News” while there is still time.