Restoring Overwhelming Gardens
Early this morning, I looked out over my garden and realized that the weeds are so out of control, they appear beyond restoring. This is not just a typical exclamation of a few weeds; no unfortunately, this is a wild, out of control, infested tangle of embarrassment that I have allowed to slide, far too long. This did not occur overnight; in fact I have known for some time that the garden needed to be restored. The weeds needed to be plucked out, the soil tilled, and fresh mulch spread. However my excuses of being too busy have prevailed and I learned to look the other way. I repeatedly have convinced myself that the tackling of this mess will be on my list of things to do, once I get all the other things done that I think need to be completed first.
As I pondered on where to start this morning, a great feeling of being overwhelmed came upon me. I am unsure where to begin to even restore it back to something that will pass as acceptable. The idea of the end results from restoring it is very pleasing, but the work required to do so; not so appealing. There are many excuses that I can come up with to put off the needed work; it is too hot now, soon the growing season will be over so why bother, or that there are other things that are more important and need to be completed first. The list of excuses could go on and on but the restoring of the garden will not occur until I make the dedicated commitment to just get in there and begin, by weeding and cutting out the offensives. I know that once I do this the satisfaction in the restoring of the garden will bring a great abundance of joy. But where do I begin when the joy seems so distance and the overwhelming odds of excuses so plentiful?
A sluggish faith and commitment to God is much like the overgrown weeds in my garden. At first the missed prayers or attendance of small groups seem acceptable. People are busy this time of year; there is a lot going on, and much to do. We tell ourselves that skipping devotion this morning will be OK because we are running late or missing just this one Sunday will not affect us; but it turns into two or more and the next thing you know the summer is past and God has faded into the background. Maybe life is going OK, so the need of God doesn’t come to the front of our minds or maybe life itself is so overwhelming that it is all we can do to make it through the day; God seems distance, so we distance ourselves even further. Restoring the relationship in either instance doesn’t appear to be very important in our priorities and before we realize it, the weeds have taken over and the restoring of the relationship appears beyond repair.
Our focus verse this week however, reminds us that restoring our relationship with God should always be first in our mind, and our priorities. Restoring our relationship with God means we are restoring the joys of life. Sometimes life is overwhelming and we find ourselves caught up in the unimportant things this world offers or focused on things outside of our relationship with God. The great news is that for the asking, the Holy Spirit will help us with restoring our relationship with Him. He loves us so much that He will even help us in the repair of a broken relationship with Him, no matter how severe the brokenness may be or how badly the weeds have grown.
One of the benefits in restoring our relationship with God is the privilege of receiving abounding joy. This is not just any variety of joy either; this is a joy that is seen and felt in all circumstances; the good and bad. It all begins with seeking His help and restoring the relationship.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and make me willing to obey you. Psalms 51:12 (NLT)
The Needed Steps in Restoring and Maintaining the Garden of Joy
Let’s face it; restoring anything takes a certain amount of work and a lot of commitment. Exactly how much work will depend on how long an area has been left unmaintained? The payoff however is tremendous. Paul pointed out in Galatians 5 that joy is a gift directly given to you by the Holy Spirit. The joy comes from the relationship and it is joy that give evidence that the Spirit is active in your life. Jesus brought joy into people’s lives no matter where He went; you too can have joy; when you are where, Jesus is.
Restoring your relationship with God is not unlike restoring the garden. There is a motivation in both, to not allow the relationship or area to become overgrown again. It is very easy to sit back and take a break or find other things to occupy your time, but if you do, the promise of weeds will return and grow to the point they may seem beyond repair. Restoring your relationship with God requires only a few steps and the garden of joy will produce a great bounty.
- Weeding ”“ The first step in restoring your relationship with God is to seek forgiveness of any transgressions that you may have committed. Let God know you want the pull the weeds of sin from your life and keep them from overtaking the relationship. God will help you with the weeding,Â if you will ask Him.
- Tilling – A good tilling is necessary to keep focused on what is important. This part of restoring the relationship cannot be put to the side or the weeds will return quicker than they left. Â Soil tilling is important to help plants grow just like soul tilling is important to keep God first and focused upon, so joy will thrive.
- Maintenance ”“ A garden, to maintain itself and be in top producing formation, requires continued care along with proper and regular maintenance. God must be first in your life and it is He that should be consulted with before taking problems to others. You must not stop putting God first as there are no excuses. As in the writing of Brother Lawrence in the Practice of the Presence of God, ”We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.”
Restoring your relationship with God will allow the bounty from the garden of joy to fulfill your life. But as in all abundant gardens, the weeds must be consistently gone through and thrown out; the soil should be regularly tilled and amended with good regular prayer, study, and accountability with other believers. The bounty of joy is there for you, once you have committed to restoring the garden and understand that you cannot walk away from it and still expect it to produce.
So be challenged to put God first and make sure that the weeds do not grow. Understand that the garden of relationship must be tended in all seasons. And above all, be assured and comforted that your creator loves you so much that He provides continued opportunities for restoring the garden if you let it get overgrown.
Love in Christ,
Joy is the byproduct of obedience.
What are your thoughts? Join Us in Discussion
Do you think that you are beyond restoring your relationship with God? Have you thought about how maintaining a garden that has consistence bounty is no different from maintaining your relationship with God to gain the bounty of overflowing joy? What are your thoughts on restoring and maintaining your relationship with God? Join us in discussion on the great importance of your relationship with God and how the abundant production of joy comes from the maintenance.