April 27, 2009
"Of Gardens and Roots"
The writer of Hebrews says in chapter 12:14, 15, “Strive to live in peace with everybody, and pursue that consecration and holiness without which no one will see the Lord. Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look [after one another], to see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God’s grace (His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing), in order that no root of resentment (rancor, bitterness or hatred) shoot forth and cause trouble and bitter torment, and that many become contaminated and defiled by it.” (Amplified New Testament)
I had work to do with my new garden at the condo, but I also had work to do in my heart.
Years before we moved to the condominium we had a tree outside our back door. I could hardly wait to plant snowdrops and daffodils under its branches and thought it would be easy to simply insert them between the roots. I pictured flamboyant impatiens for the summer months. Year after year I would spend money for new planting material and finally gave up. Not a thing was going to grow in that place because of the vast network of roots that had taken over. The roots stole all the nutrients right from under them!
Roots, being underground, usually cannot be seen. But you can often see the evidence -- like cement sidewalks being heaved up. Roots drink the nourishment out of the soil and it is difficult to get other plants to grow where great roots are drinking.
Bitterness is like that. It is often hidden, under ground, but you can see the results!
“Bishops Weed” comes up in the early spring, full of fairy-tale beauty, reminding us of Queen Anne’s Lace. The name itself (at least the first part) makes us think of purity and holiness...but Ah! Come the end of June the leaves look like lace with holes all through them. They are a foot tall, rapidly filling the garden and crowding everything else out. It is nearly impossible to get rid of them! The only way is to dig up the earth surrounding the plant and replacing the soil. If even a smidgeon of a root is left, it rapidly multiplies again! That’s Bitterness.
And so, suppose we have decided we ARE going to have a garden that will give us contentment and bring others contentment, we’ve committed ourselves to doing it, we’ve made a plan, we’ve evaluated the place, and seen what clutter needs to be removed. . .WELL. . .
Let’s roll up our sleeves! Dig it up. Break up the hard clods. Take out the Roots.
···· Jeremiah 4:3 “Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.” (Fallow means it is left uncultivated, unplanted, untrained, inactive, and it is said of the mind.)
···· Hosea 10:12, 13 “ Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that He may come and rain righteousness upon you. You have plowed iniquity; you have reaped injustice; you have eaten the fruit of lies.· Because you have trusted in your own way . . .”· The more we trust in our own ways, the harder our hearts become. The harder our soil is.
···· “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no ROOT of bitterness springs up and causes trouble and by it many become defiled.” (Heb. 12:15) ESV
···· Eph. 4:31-5:2· “GET RID of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
“Oh, Adam was a gardener, and God, who made him, sees
That half a proper gardener’s work is done upon his knees!”
~ Rudyard Kipling
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