There are many outdoor projects at our house this summer. My husband and I are working on landscaping, planting some bushes, and digging an asparagus patch. He has worked as a landscaper and is used to fresh produce from his grandma's garden, and I have a deep love for rare plants. You can imagine we have specific thoughts about how our yard should be.
Our property is not a disaster zone but it could definitely use some sprucing up in the landscaping department. There was already a garden when we bought the house but it had been neglected for several years. It was overgrown, full of weeds and thorny things. It's a long way from Eden but it is coming along well this year, producing tomatoes, swiss chard, bok choi, and flowers. It's hard to believe that it's the same patch of ground.
That fascinates me about soil--it can produce wonderful fruit, nourishing vegetables, and beautiful flowers or it can produce thistles and weeds. It simply depends on how you cultivate it.
Are you familiar with Yeshua's words from Mattiyahu 13? In what is known as the Parable of the Sower the Messiah likens us to soil. He tells of himself scattering his Torah amongst the people. In some, his word flourishes and gives life. In others it gets devoured or choked out. His truth only grows in soil that is good.
Just like that small garden out my back door you can produce anything you'd like. You can put in lots of hard work to make your garden beautiful. Spend time planting seeds, weeding, watering, and caring for them. It's hard work to make a lovely place. It's easier to let the thorns take over.
A garden can only produce the seed that is in it. There will never be asparagus or berries growing in my yard unless I put in the effort to plant them. It's the same with us. If you want to be someone that bears the fruit of the Spirit you'll need to plant those seeds in yourself.
Galatians 5:28: The fruit of the Ruach Hakodesh is ahava, simcha, shalom, patience, chesed, rachamim, trust worthiness, gentleness, and self-control.
These things are not going to magically pop up one spring. You have to purposefully plant them. If you don't take care of your garden then the weeds that grow look more like anxiety, frustration, faithlessness, and bitterness. It's easy to let those thorns take over. It's much harder to curate yourself for love, joy, and peace.
Mishlei 11:18b To him that sows tzedakah shall be a sure reward.
This proverb tells us that YHWH even rewards the ones who sow righteousness in their lives, families, and communities. When you sow seeds of goodness you are rewarded by the growth. The beauty of the flower, the fruit of the vine, the shade of that tree. YHWH does reward you for being a bearer of the Ruach Hakodesh.
If I want fruit to grow in my yard then I will have to plant the seeds. If I want the fruit of the Spirit in my life then I will have to ask YHWH to plant it in me and intentionally care for myself by studying Scripture, spending time in prayer and worship, and attending congregation. Because you are the soil that Yeshua talked about. You can grow in shalom, in love, in kindness. But first you need to plant.