I like flowers growing in my yard, but I’m an average gardener at best. However, when I decided to put my condo on the market, I became more than a dabbler in flowers because I wanted to improve my home’s curb appeal. I researched and shopped. I planted. I watered. I fed. I deadheaded. I weeded. And I kept after it throughout the season.
In the past, I’d set out a few plants and water them well until they were established. I’d do a little weeding here and there. But when the hot days of summer were upon us, and my flowers started to wilt, so did my enthusiasm to sustain them. I’d let Mother Nature take its course.
But this year, I was motivated to keep them at their best. And because I invested time, money, and love in my flowers, I reaped an abundance of beautifully blooming Zinnias, Begonias, and Vincas. And the more my flowers thrived, the more effort I put into sustaining them.
This got me thinking about the life of abundance Jesus promises believers. In John 10:10, Jesus contrasts what He offers with what Satan offers:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (ESV).
The promise is there. Why, then, is abundant life often elusive for even those of us who walk in faith?
As long as we are on this earth, our life will be a constant battle between what the world offers and what God offers. Even after the Spirit is alive in us, our flesh will rule if we allow it. Why? The world’s offerings appeal to our old selves, and we slip into Satan’s trap of worldly pursuits. God made us, filling us with needs this world can’t provide. But we make the mistake of chasing after worldly things to satisfy our real need, which is God Himself. Thus, we cheat ourselves out of the life of abundance Jesus promised.
For only the Holy Spirit can fulfill us.
Like my glorious flowers, harvesting abundant life takes effort on our part. We have to invest in planting and sustaining the right seeds. The abundant life Jesus came to give isn’t automatic. We must wake the Spirit in us each day. And the more intentional we are, the more bountiful our harvest.
Five Ways to Nurture Our Spiritual Garden
- Feed Our Faith with God’s Word
I regularly fed Miracle Gro to my flowers to encourage growth. To grow our faith, we feed it daily with Scripture. Inspired by God, the Bible is a manual for Christian living. It also reveals God’s amazing grace and love for us. Getting to know God through Bible study builds our trust in Him. Trust in God leads to peace because we have assurance that He is with us in all circumstances, good and bad. Where God is, peace is.
2. Sprinkle Prayer All Over the Place
The sprinkler system in my yard is set to come on twice weekly. This wasn’t enough water to sustain the flowers during the hot and dry summer months. And the water from the sprinkler didn’t reach all my flowers. I had to be intentional in seeing my plants got enough water to thrive. Just as plants need water flowing to their roots, we need a steady flow of prayer throughout our day to sustain abundant living. Prayer is the path to a personal relationship with Jesus. It’s an ongoing conversation. It’s opening our hearts to hear what he has to say. It’s telling Him about our fears and worries, requesting guidance, and expressing thanks
3. Pay Attention
Whenever I left my house or returned home, I noticed the flowers out front. Their appearance reminded me when they needed attention. The flowers in back were out of sight, and it was easy to forget them in past growing seasons. This year, paying attention to each flower became part of my daily routine, and I was rewarded by the harvest. Likewise, to harvest abundant life, we have to live in the present. Only then can we notice the holy in the ordinary moments. We draw closer to God as we “[seek] His face always” (1 Chron 16:11 NIV).
4. Weed Out Sin
For me, the least enjoyable part of tending my flowers was the weeding. It was hard, and I got dirty. But weeds will take over our garden if we don’t stay on top of them. Sin does the same thing to our lives if we don’t weed it consistently. We’d rather not acknowledge sin, but we must deal with it by asking God to show us our areas of sin. Then we admit it, and we ask forgiveness. If not, sin will hold us back from the life of fullness Jesus intends for us.
5. Praise and Give Thanks
So ticked was I that my flowers responded to me, I praised them each time I walked outside. I thanked them. I encouraged them. Yes, I became the lady who talked to her plants. But of course, I was actually praising God, the source of life and all good things. Resisting pride in “my” accomplishment, and praising the Lord instead kept my heart focused on Him. Less of me, more of Thee, God. The phrase is trite, but “an attitude of gratitude” encourages joy in our hearts—one of the many by-products of abundant living.
How much or how little we experience the abundant life God promises is up to us. In what ways do you keep your spiritual garden flourishing?The abundant life Jesus came to give isn’t automatic. We must wake the Spirit in us each day. And the more intentional we are, the more bountiful our harvest. Click To Tweet