I knelt there in the flowerbed. The weeds had been mowed down. The stubble was all that remained of the flowers of the summer. What once was full of beauty, color and life was now brown, broken and dry. No use for it.
I began cleaning up the remaining fallen leaves. I pulled the overgrown weeds that had been left to grow wild. The flowerbed hadn’t received the best of attention this summer. Life got busy. I was tired. My free time was spent relaxing and doing more enjoyable tasks. Cleaning flowerbeds and pulling weeds isn’t my idea of fun. Oh. It’s a necessity for a beautiful flowerbed, but it can be hard work. It can take time. And after a week of hard work, I was looking for a break come Saturday.
My spiritual life is much like my flowerbed. It has its moments where it shines. Where I’m in perfect rhythm with my God and Savior. Where I’m obeying and seeing the fruits of my hard labor. Where I’m pulling the weeds of disobedience and pride from my spiritual flowerbed. Where I’m spending time in prayer and Bible study. Where I’m sharing moments with godly friends who share similar beliefs. Encouraging and building up each other.
I think of the times that I don’t keep my spiritual garden tidy. I’m tired and stressed. Perhaps I’m frustrated about a situation and a bad attitude creeps in. I could be expecting an answer to prayer that doesn’t come or it doesn’t happen in the way I want. The seeds of doubt begin to grow. A dose of self pity makes its annual appearance. The perennial questioning of why continues to bloom each season.
I love you, Lord. You are my strength. Psalms 18:1
Too much sun and rain, both good in and of themselves, cause gardens to grow quickly and abundantly. It also means that the garden needs constant attention. It’s easy for weeds to overtake a garden. Pulling weeds. Deadheading worn out blooms. Trimming and thinning out overgrowth. Pruning old branches that have left their prime. Making sure the best flower buds are the ones that bloom. It’s a necessary, never ending task. If left on its own, the garden will lose its beauty and grace. If routinely tended, it will provide hours of pleasure and fulfillment.
The same goes for my heart. Bible reading and prayer are good for the soul. Too much is never enough. But there’s more involved to keeping the heart right. It takes action. Hard work. It takes cleaning out the cobwebs of a cluttered mind that can lead one astray. It means making sure the self-centered desires and actions are rooted out by God’s will and plan. Allowing God to prune the budding heart so that only the most beautiful buds will blossom.
I’ve read that sheep need to be sheared on a regular basis. If left unsheared, a sheep’s wool will add extra pounds to the sheep’s weight. This will cause unnecessary health problems, and it can even be life threatening. The sheep needs continual grooming and care from his shepherd. He needs his shepherd.
I am like that sheep. If left to my own devices, I will add extra baggage to my life. If I don’t allow God to groom the ungodly areas of my life, my poor habits and desires will take control. My soul will be weighed down and threatened, if it is left without a steady diet of spiritual food.
My soul needs constant attention. Daily feedings from God’s word and an attitude of prayer keep my soul alive and healthy. My prayer is that I remain disciplined to keep my soul in check, so I stay close to the One who loves me most and knows me best. I need my Shepherd.