Garden of Praise

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth; It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)

I read these verses this morning together. I’m familiar with the second verse, but I have never read it with the preceding one. As I read it, I pictured a vegetable garden. It is filled with all of the things we need to lead a happy healthy life. Each of the plants are sprinkled with beautiful colors exhibited through it’s fruit. There are peppers in many colors and eggplants. The tomatoes are vibrant and the silk coming from the corn drapes over the green husk. There is such beauty there. But the beauty is only the beginning. Each of the vegetables grown in the garden bring nourishment to the one who partakes. Each one is packed with something to make us healthy. Each is filled with the vitamins we need to flourish.

We are that garden. If we are filled with the Spirit, we bear fruit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control…” (Gal. 5:22-23). We have all of these within us given by the Spirit of God. However, there are times we lack joy. We are so weighed down by the circumstances of life, we are simply not joyful. There are times we are unloving. We don’t feel loved, so we can not give love. We lack peace because things are out of our control. We are only kind when the receiver deserves it. We are not good because our sin nature has taken over. We sometimes lose faith in the Lord. We are harsh instead of gentle. And certainly, we have all lacked self-control. That could be a blog in itself!

If we are filled with the Spirit, we should be able to exhibit these qualities all of the time, not just when things are going our way. But in order to do that, we have to be in the Word. God said that His Word does not come back empty. So each and every day, we should be letting God’s Word rain on us. We should be spending time soaking up all of the truth that fills the pages of our Bible. When we’re feeling unloved or unable to love, God’s Word has the remedy. If our joy has been stolen, get it back by reading of the faithfulness of a loving God. When we receive bad news, go to the Word, you will find comfort. God gives us all we need in His Word to live a happy, healthy life. We need to go there every day to nourish our souls. Because when we don’t, we become dry. We grow faint. We become discouraged and if left undernourished long enough, we become bitter.

We are God’s workmanship. He knows the beauty that lies within. He desires for us to share that beauty with the world around us. But we can not share what we do not know. We will never exhibit each and every fruit unless we allow Him to nourish us and grow us to be what He desires. However, when we do let the Word of God come in and do it’s work, we become nourishment to those who receive our fruit. We are free to love, even the unlovable. We have unexplainable joy. God’s peace becomes a way of life for us. We can endure anything because we are confident in His timing. Kindness isn’t something we have to think about anymore. It comes naturally, just as goodness does. Our faith grows like never before. Those around us see it and a desire to know the Savior grows within them.  We savor the freedom of self-control which brings encouragement to those who lack it.

When we are complete in Him, we bear fruit. Fruit that is undernourished is limp and lacks luster. It tastes bitter and dry. But the fruit that develops by being watered and fed is a beautiful sight to behold. And it not only looks inviting, it tastes sweet. It satisfies the one who tastes it. If we bear the fruit of the Spirit, then not only will we be satisfied, but those who we minister to will be blessed also. It all comes back to where we are finding our nourishment. When we find it in the Master Gardener, then we will be just has He desires us to be. We will be a garden of praise!

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