GARDENING BY GOD
TAKEN FROM SAVIOR OF THE WORLD WEB PAGE
BY: BRAD EDWARDS
GENESIS 2:8; Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.
According to Genesis, God was the world’s first gardener. And who’s going to argue with that? We could even go farther and crown God with the title of “Master Gardener” of the universe… Which is to say, the entire universe is God’s garden, where consciousness is grown and life is realized. Within this garden, God has created the perfect medium for spirit and consciousness to pass through and complete the cycle of life. It is here in the fabric of space and time where His Seeds of life are sown in faith and grown with love. It is here in this garden of the Divine where we find our self and our life. It is here in the garden of the soul where we know we are growing toward a holy and glorious purpose. Like the plants of the earth, our purpose is to grow, mature and produce fruit at the hands of the Master Gardener who nurtures us with the light of knowledge and the water of love. Yes indeed, God is a gardener on the highest level.
I have found that gardening is just one of the many earthly ways we can relate to God. Many times our natural experiences in this world help us to better understand God, and because of this we can see God in many different ways. Of course God can be described as our Creator, our Master, our King, our Father, and even our Husband. And yet I have found that one of the best ways to understand God is in the light and likeness of a simple gardener. For any reader of the Bible, the multitude of metaphors should make it clear that God is the Gardener, and we are His plantings. In fact, this analogy is so appropriate that the Bible could be renamed “Gardening by God” and it would accurately capsulate what God’s will and purpose for humanity are. In short, mankind is a divine crop of spiritual beings that God plants, grows and harvests at the end of every age so that more of the glorious image of God is revealed. This humble and simple relationship seemed clearly understood by a certain ANOINTED man of God two millennia ago.
JOHN 15:1; “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.”
Jesus, the Christ, became aware of who he was and who God is. Being a gardener myself, I have come to realize that gardening is quite possibly the best earthly activity we can use to better understand the work of God in our lives. This is not unlike my experiences in the realm of parenting too. Once I became a father myself, my spiritual eyes were opened more than ever before. I came to see more clearly how God deals with humanity. This parenting wisdom including the holy relationship between love and discipline has been invaluable in my desire to better know and love God as Father. Just as importantly, it also showed me how childish I can be. Anyone who has ever raised children and yes even cared for plants in a garden in this natural world can relate and translate many of the lessons over to the spiritual side. As discussed in Shadows of a Higher Reality, all of life and its experiences are to teach us about Love and Truth, or in other words- God. So what do you say? Shall we dig around for a while and see what the age-old practice of gardening might be revealing about God? Who knows, perhaps we will even discover something more about ourselves- the garden of the Most High.
ISAIAH 5:7; The vineyard of the LORD Almighty is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight.
I suppose that by definition every gardener must have a garden, but more importantly a purpose for that garden. Sometimes a garden is planted simply for its beauty. Flowers offer radiant artwork for the eyes and sweet perfume to any nose that draws near. Yes, the beauty alone is worth the work, however, most gardens are planted with the hope, desire and even the need of producing some PRODUCE, some food. It seems apparent from Scripture that God gathers both pleasure and “produce” from those who seek Him, hear Him and obey Him. Yes, God is delighted to watch His garden bloom and flourish, but perhaps the even greater reward is the holy harvest, the fruit of the Spirit.
As discussed in The Meaning of Life, the purpose of creation seems to be for the sake of growing consciousness in an eternal cycle of Consciousness. In this way, God will eventually subdue and fill all things with His life and Consciousness thereby becoming realized as all in all. We are God’s garden, and God’s Seed is planted in everyone. This spiritual Seed is there to grow the branches of our consciousness higher and higher. This is the Kingdom of God to become more and more aware of God. So this higher consciousness is the “produce” that being produced in the garden of God. In a very real sense, the consciousness we produce through our experiences and lives is the food for the Spirit of God. Before God’s will can be done, His will must be known and accepted. God is made alive in us, His image, when we know and do His will. This is our purpose in the garden of God – to produce the fruit of God’s Spirit and Life.
While God is our Master Gardener, we are also gardeners of our own plot of soil- the mind. So within God’s universal Garden of life is our own garden that we have been entrusted to care for – like father, like son, you might say. The children of God do what they see their Father doing. In this way, we become His image and likeness. Let’s go back to that moment in time when God created the first garden.
GENESIS 2:8; Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.
Here we read that God planted a garden for man, but then it seems; God planted man in that Garden of Eden. Man was “planted” here at that moment for a purpose. Now, there are many ways of interpreting what the “garden” of Eden is. Some continue to understand this on a natural level. So to them it simply means what it says a literal garden full of plants and trees with fruits to eat. From a certain (natural) viewpoint this is, of course, true since it is here on the earth where we find ourselves. Still, this natural understanding alone will do little to aid in our spiritual life and growth. In fact, it may even bog us down in the mud of the earthly mind and keep us from seeing the higher truth.
We must come to understand and accept what Jesus did- the spirit gives life and the flesh counts for nothing. In other words, our energies, our thoughts and our desires need to be focused on the spirit, not the flesh. The flesh will always fail, die and remain part of this earth dust to dust. Dust and death is not God’s design for man, but rather to reach higher and higher into true life by riding the wings of our spirit. It is our spirit from God that will take us to where we want to be and to who we want to be. So what about Adam, Eve and that Garden of Eden? If not two humans surrounded by greenery, then who are they and what is this “garden” they were placed in?
Being Spirit, God’s garden is a spiritual garden where consciousness is grown. Adam and Eve represent the male and female aspects of our existence. The spirit of man (Adam/male) was given a helper (Eve/female) who represents the soul (mind/consciousness). God placed us in this world (garden) to eat knowledge and grow in awareness of spirit. So in a higher level of meaning, we should see that God has planted mankind (spirit/soul/body) into a garden for him to eat and grow spiritually.
When I read Genesis, I don’t envision plants, trees or fruit that is forbidden to eat. What I am seeing is that God is much more concerned with raising sons to His glory than fruit from trees. To this end, God joined and planted the spirit (Adam) and mind (Eve) of man in this garden called the world for us to eat of it and grow by it. Yes, man is said to have eaten from many different trees including, of course, the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Do some really believe that an actual tree with NATURAL fruit led us into a state of SPIRITUAL death? Please! Let’s put this “tree” into a spiritual context. In this case, “trees” can be thought of as worlds, or kingdoms. Jesus told us that the Kingdom of God is like a seed that grows into a tree. This world we are in now is simply another (lower) kingdom that grew (for billions of years) to a point when it was ready to “feed” Adam and Eve (self-aware spiritual being). In other words, the entire world was created for the mind of man to indulge itself and be filled until ready to go higher. We have been eating and growing with the knowledge of the world including the knowledge of good and evil for this divine purpose. Again this purpose is to ultimately transcend this world and the rest of the animal kingdom.
GENESIS 3:22; And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”
By eating of this knowledge, mankind is becoming like the LORD God (Christ). We are being raised into the Body of Christ; and Christ is the image of God. All things have come from Christ for Christ for the purpose of creating a perfect image of God. We have come from Christ to be planted in this world to do our vital part. Though we have lost our connection with the Tree of Life (Christ) for a time, like a fallen seed, we will not remain dormant, but will grow into the fullness of God. This is our purpose in this garden of consciousness.
So many are reading Genesis and still seeing trees, apples and a snake that speaks lies. “Come up higher!” calls the spirit within us! God is Spirit, and we should read any inspired text with spiritual eyes. Do you see a natural garden for the body of man or a spiritual garden for the soul of man? Do you see trees green with fruit to eat or worlds ready to be known? Do you see naked bodies hiding behind bushes or children of God just having just realized they need the glory of Christ to clothe them? Do we see them putting on a fur pelts over their flesh or carnally minded egos over their spirit? Am I getting through here? Spirit! Spirit! Spirit! You are Spirit, not flesh. Yes, we live this life in these bodies of flesh, but if we are born of the Spirit, then we are SPIRIT! And yes, there are natural gardens with natural trees and natural fruit, but these cannot feed the soul. Even as the body devours the foods of the earth, our mind devours the knowledge of the world until it has had its fill. At some point, our soul will not find this world satisfying and will seek a higher form of food. We will seek that higher fruit from that Tree of Life that we once knew.
JOHN 6:54; “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
The Tree of Life has returned to mankind! The Tree is Christ. The fruit of this Tree is for the growth of the Kingdom! Or are there some that read this passage and believe that Jesus is promoting cannibalism here? Did Adam eat a bad apple? Get real! Get spiritual! Have we not read that God is Spirit? Did Jesus not say that the “flesh means nothing, but the Spirit gives life”? Then do some really believe that God’s desire is to satisfy the flesh in a natural garden with natural food? Certainly the body needs natural food from our natural gardens, but this fruit will bring us no closer to God. This is the doctrinal trap that many fall into when trying to understand God. Many reading the Bible and contemplating God read with natural eyes and think with carnal minds. God is SPIRIT and so are His children. Like Jesus, I am fully convinced that God is not concerned with the flesh. The purpose of the body is to simply be a vehicle for the soul to move about in this world. This jar of clay provides a place to house and a foundation from which to grow consciousness. Inside the jar of clay is where God’s precious plant is placed. The garden of God’s life has been planted in you and all in accord with His Holy purpose.
1 CORINTHIANS 3:7; So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8] The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. 9] For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.
YOU are God’s field! YOU are God’s building! In YOU is where the Kingdom of God grows! Because of this you are also called fellow gardeners with God! Inside each of us is a universe and garden that we have been given to tend. When we work with God, our gardens are sure to flourish. God is teaching us how to garden even as we are His Garden. It is a matter of perspective. Because of this, we are the gardeners but we are also the plants.
Every garden contains plants that were placed there to grow except for rock gardens I suppose! Although I must admit that some years, my garden does seem to “grow” more rocks and stones than anything else! I had another good crop of them this year! I never plant them, but they still produce a bountiful harvest each season. Of course, rocks are ripe for the picking when they migrate their way to the surface. Then I pluck them out of the ground to make a better bed for the real residents.
I would suppose that those of you that garden already appreciate the work involved in keeping our gardens in order and flourishing. There is more to it than just throwing down some seed and hoping it grows. From the time of preparing the soil to the last day of harvest, every gardener is busy doing what is necessary to yield the best and biggest crop. Do we suppose it is any different for the Gardener of the universe? If our God is likened to a gardener, then we must be likened to the plants that He cares for. We may have a hard time equating our lives to that of plants, but that is exactly what the ancient prophets did.
ISAIAH 40:6; A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?” “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. 7] The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass.
Kind of a harsh statement – don’t you think? Grass? Isaiah has a point here. Our lives do seem fleeting almost meaningless compared to the life of God. I think I heard that the mayfly only lives one day- now that is fleeting compared to us. While this may seem unfair, life in the flesh always ends in death, but life in the spirit never ends. So with a certain (natural) perspective it is easy to understand this rather depressing statement. Our lives in the human body are short because the flesh eventually withers away like a flower or blade of grass. Yet, we must understand that Isaiah is speaking of the natural man of the earth, not the spiritual child from God. The natural man has no eternal life and will wither away. His body and soul go the way of the flower and are destroyed.
GALATIONS 6:7; Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8] The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
In our garden, we can sow and reap what life we choose. We can live for the body and the world or for the Spirit and the Kingdom. Despite what many may believe or claim, most of humanity is carnally minded. In other words, the ego and the world of the senses lead us and deceive us. Our minds are married to the flesh and serve the flesh. Because of this union between body and soul, both are destroyed here in this lower world (hell) leaving the spirit to return to God.
MATTHEW 7:13; “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14] But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.
Jesus talked about “destruction” many times. He said not to fear the devil that could destroy the body, but fear God who could destroy both body and soul (carnal mind, ego) in Gehenna. The fact is we have all walked this broad road to our destruction time and time again. How is this possible you say? It is possible because YOU are spirit from God that lives in a body and uses a mind to gain consciousness. For those spirits that find their true life and identity in Christ, they are free from the cycle and place of death. In every age (lifetime), only a few find Christ and are saved. Shocked? Many that profess universal salvation have a difficult time reconciling the many passages speaking of the destruction of the “many” entering the wide gate. These lost souls that Jesus spoke about and Paul wrote about are the “grass” that Isaiah preached about. These “natural” men are those who are called the children of the devil. Sorry, but the devil’s kids don’t enter the Kingdom of God.
If you know your Bible, you will know that all are born children of the devil because we all have a carnal mind and ego that must be overcome. This “outer man” of the world is not who we are because our true self is alive and well in Christ. Yes, the natural man is grass that will wither after each lifetime, but are true life is hidden and safe in Christ. In Christ we are preserved and eventually restored. Many do not understand that we must die for Christ to live. All the prophets say as much including the greatest of them all- Jesus. This does not mean a physically death, but death to the ego and carnal mind that deceive us. This is the “you” that is not of God, but of the world. This is the “you” that must die. Paul said he “died daily” and that “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” This is what I am speaking of – the reality of Christ, not the many false lives that we live.
Understand that we (spirit) come into this world and into these bodies to grow. Like plants in a garden, the Master Gardener plants us in the right “containers” best suited for our growth and us. He may plant us in this country, using that religion and with a certain body type for the purpose of growing our consciousness closer to Him. So these lives we live in this world are not real until we are awakened from our spiritual sleep. Then we will see that Christ is the one revealed through us.
COLOSSIANS 3:3; For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4] When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
This is the true you that does God’s will because you are God’s image. All our worldly coverings we have “put on” are like rags. When we put on Christ, we are no longer male or female, no longer black or white, no longer Christian or Muslim because all will put on righteousness. These worldly labels are gone. They are like the hay and stubble that is burned away leaving only what is worthy and true in God’s eyes. You see when a man dies, his spirit returns to God – the Father of all spirits. During this process, what is of the world is stripped away and any truth, wisdom or faith gained is secured like heavenly treasures. While the natural man may be likened to a flower than withers annually, the spiritual (true) you is more like a tree that returns every season to grow some more.
ISAIAH 61:3; …They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
After a season of growing even those mighty oaks APPEAR to die in the winter’s cold. It is no different with us living in the flesh. Each season can be thought of as a lifetime. We put on a new body just as the oak puts on new leaves each year. We live through our seasons and add another “ring” of life experiences. Our bodies may fail, but we are no more dead than the tree without leaves in the winter. Like the dormant trees, we simply have to wait until the Son’s radiant energy brings us back to life in the warmth of the spring to begin anew. Each lifetime in this world is another chance to grow toward maturity and hopefully produce some fruit for the Master Gardener. Pray that you are planted in mild climate and good soil.
GENESIS 9:20; Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. 21] When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent.
This account of Noah should give every “would-be saint” some hope and peace about being worthy enough to serve God. Here is one of God’s handpicked servants that is naked and drunk in his tent after knocking a few down. Seems rather disgraceful, but even so, we should not judge Noah to harshly. After all, he was like everyone OF this world- natural. In spite of this, the LORD God certainly thought highly of this aptly named “man of the soil.” While this title could simply be implying that Noah was a gardener, the spiritual intent could be saying that Noah was like all that followed that first “man of the soil”- Adam.
It is written that Adam was the first man to be formed from the earth. Then Jesus was the first man to become the Word of God made flesh. There is an order of things – first the natural then the spiritual. We have all lived as a “man of the soil” at one time or another, have a little celebration, drink too much and then get naked. This sounds a lot like the college life, right! Well you may be a tea-totaling, legalistic Christian in this current life, but you have done this and much worse; we all have. We are all murders, rapists and sinners. Adam sinned. Cain murdered. Paul persecuted. This is the innate nature of man. Noah was no different than us, yet aside from the natural images expressed in this story; I believe that Noah was demonstrating something very profound with his questionable behavior. The symbolism here may run very deep.
The Flood, of course, is symbolic to how all the earth will be baptized by Christ except not with water. Christ baptizes with the Holy Spirit and Fire. If this doesn’t “clean” us, nothing will! After Christ has flooded us, we then begin again. We plant a spiritual vineyard, which makes sense since Christ refers to Himself as a vine of life. We can then drink of that fruit of the Spirit produced when we have the vine of Christ growing in us. Becoming drunk on the Spirit, we remove the clothes of the world. We lay naked, but unlike Adam, we are not ashamed because the righteousness of Christ is our covering. Whether he was aware of this or not, it seems that Noah may have been following a deeper calling of the Spirit expressing wisdom.
So then, what we should come to realize is that the earthly man comes before the heavenly man. Just as John prepared the way for Jesus so does the natural man for the spiritual man. All are first born of Adam and just as surely are then born of the Spirit of Christ. Our spirit is going from the animal kingdom to a higher Kingdom. It is all about order and preparation. In a real sense, we are here in this lower world preparing a suitable bed of soil for our Christ Seed to grow and mature. With this in mind, we can think of our many natural lives and experiences as the soil for our true life to take root and grow, which is Christ. After all, EVERY natural man made of soil and returns to the soil. What we must keep in mind is that we have the ability to improve the soil for Christ, who is our true life, by improving our life in the flesh. As Jesus pointed out so eloquently, there are many types of soil that are NOT ideal for growing.
LUKE 8:5; “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. 6] Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7] Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8] Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”
Here Jesus uses this parable to explain what he (the Christ) was doing in the world. So in this case, Christ is the farmer who is preaching the word of God. He goes on to explain that this new LIFE begins in many different environments, but does not always mature enough to produce a harvest. The Word of God is Christ. He is not human words on paper, but rather the expressed image of God, the Father. Christ is sown in all, but not all produce a harvest.
We read in the first chapter of the gospel of John that Christ is the light of everyone that comes into the world. We all have this light and life of Christ, but we may not all use it or sustain it. Sometimes our light becomes darkness because we cover our true light with the “bowl” of the ego. The same thing happens with Christ who is sown in every soul. His life is always there, but we chose not to follow or use it. This is how Jesus explained this parable. Of course, Jesus represents what happens when the Word matures in us. When this Christ Seed matures in us, not only has salvation found us, but the Kingdom also grows by 30, 60 or 100 times of what was sown in us.
I believe there are even more lessons that we can learn from this parable of the soils. I see that the different soils are representing the different lives and choices we chose and experience. The “path” is simply the way of the world. This “way” is the easy, natural way and is the same path that leads to destruction. This is the path that most follow. The rocky soil is that life we live when our heart has become hardened. The last of moisture is the lack of grace and love. The soil occupied by thorns represents those lives that become choked by sinful behaviors and thoughts. The good soil is that soil that is free of thorns (sin), soft (merciful), fertile (faithful) and not packed down by the weight of the world (peace of righteous). This is the soil (life) we should strive to maintain for our sake and the sake of the Kingdom within us. Even so, sometimes having fertile soil is not enough to ensure a bountiful harvest.
PROVERBS 20:4; A sluggard does not plow in season; so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing.
Even fertile soil can become too hard making it difficult for anything to grow. Clay, as a matter of fact, is rich in nutrients and has everything a plant needs. But the problem is it becomes too hard for the roots to spread and grow to receive these essentials. Perhaps clay soil is like the life of a man of high intellect and of strong moral character who knows the Bible inside and out, but has let his heart and mind harden under the weight of the world. So every once in awhile, our soil needs to be plowed sometimes deep and other times shallow. Before planting begins and after the harvest is complete are usually good times for a nice, deep plowing of the ground.
So what does it mean to breaking up the “soil” in our spiritual lives? It means turning our false doctrines upside down. It means taking our natural desires and burying them deep to rot away. It means digging up what has been buried so that God’s Light and Spirit can condition it again. The spiritual soil of our gardens is too hard when our minds and hearts will not accept what God is trying to plant. This could be a seed of forgiveness for the heart or a seed of wisdom for the mind.
The relationship between the spirit and the soul is like that between a seed and the soil. It is easy to see the soul (being our awareness, thoughts, desires and emotions) as the soil for the spirit (true self, divine life). Like the soil of the earth, the soul can become hardened and packed down by the ways and worries of the world. Plowing it will remedy this condition. Our minds need to be tilled so that they remain open for any spiritual truth that God is planting there. So many times after being taught a religion of men, our minds will not accept any other idea or truth. This is when the soil of our minds needs to be “broken up.” This can sometimes cause pain when our world is turned upside down, but is necessary just the same. However, we should also understand that too much plowing can be just as detrimental as too little.
ISAIAH 28:24; When a farmer plows for planting, does he plow continually? Does he keep on breaking up and harrowing the soil?
Gardeners know that once the seeds have sprouted and are growing steadily, the soil should not be plowed. Instead, we gently till around each plant being careful not to disturb the ground near the young roots. This is no different in our spiritual gardens and the seeds God plants there. When God plants something new in our garden, we shouldn’t plow it over by changing our minds continually lest we bury and kill it. Instead we wait until this seed that God has entrusted us with has grown strong, then we carefully cultivate around it so that His air (spirit), water (love) and nutrients (truths) can reach the roots of all our being.
EZEKIEL 17:5; He took some of the seed of your land and put it in fertile soil.
What makes the soil of our spiritual lives fertile? Well, let’s first consider our earthly gardens and what makes them fertile. Well, let’s see. Basically we have compost and manure. I bet you are anxiously waiting to see what this could possibly be saying about our spiritual soil’s fertility, right? Manure and compost are simply byproducts of any natural system. This is the way of things as higher Kingdoms are built upon lower ones. This idea was thoroughly explored in The Meaning of Life. So as God would have it, the same stuff that makes our earthly gardens fertile is also what works in the spiritual one – dead things and by–products. While plants feed on compost, we eat meat – spiritual meat that is.
REVELATION 19:17; And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, 18] so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great.”
Eating FLESH! Eating the flesh of all people? Those who take their Bibles literally might want to reconsider their method of understanding. Everyone must lose their “flesh”- flesh nature that is! As the Kingdom of God grows, the flesh of all is devoured like dry wood in a fire. When Jesus said we must eat the flesh of the son of man to have true life, he is saying we must provide our soul with the same “soil” that he had. The flesh symbolizes the soil for the soul while the soul is the soil for the spirit. When we die (to sin and the devil ego), we provide good soil and fertilizer for the Christ Seed in us to grow to maturity. All life is built upon and feeds off of other life that has died. This is true in the world of botany, but also in our spiritual growth.
Consider all the “dead” lives we have lived. All the mistakes and sins of the past are like manure and compost for the next life. We can use those experiences to learn from and grow from because like a seedling we have grown above them. These transgressions of the past should lie below us as they deteriorate with time and provide us a medium- a base. Death of the lower life allows the higher life to emerge. Isn’t this exactly what Jesus and Paul taught? The only way to have the life that Jesus has is to die to our old life and old self. We must stop being the soil (natural) and start growing into our true life from Christ, which is the true Seed, planted again and again. Past lives are spiritual compost for the Christ Seed to grow in us and become us. This divine Seed of God has already been planted in all and it is only a matter of time until the children of God mature in the growing Kingdom.
1 JOHN 3:9; No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.
There is little doubt that an entire article could be written around this single passage, but for the moment our topic is sowing. Of course for one to sow, one must first have some seed. God’s Seed is Christ. John declares that this Seed REMAINS in us and when this divine progeny has matured we are then the fullness and image of God. So it makes perfect sense that if the Christ Seed is growing in us, the end of sin is certain. Shadows don’t live in the light, but they hide from it until Christ makes our whole being light.
Sowing is possibly the most exciting time for a gardener. New life is about to commence! Imagine the celebration in heaven when the Christ Seed germinates and another child of God is born! Even in the natural, I find it so amazing how that little seed that looks so lifeless can miraculously come to life when planted into the dark ground. Isn’t the process the same for God’s Seed? Christ comes into our dark lives to grow a Kingdom of God. Like all seeds, the Christ Seed may lay dormant through our many lives, which is simply how we prepare the soil (the way) for the Christ Seed. It is only a matter of time until we are ready for God’s Holy Seed to germinate in us. The Master Gardener and His Seed decide when the time is right, not the soil. Christians must come to accept that Christ is planted in every living soul on this earth. Christians may have the LABEL, but ALL have the reality of Christ within their being! This Seed of God that is planted in all may not have yet been realized, but is there nonetheless. Whether or not we can perceive what God is doing does not affect the fact He is doing it. Do some actually doubt that God can bring His Kingdom to earth? Do these same fools also deny that Christ is growing God’s Kingdom within us?
LUKE 17:21; “Nor will people say, ‘here it is,’ or ‘there it is’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”
Here Jesus was speaking, not to his disciples, but to those Scribes and Pharisees that he also labeled sons of hell and children of the devil. In other words, God’s Kingdom is within us all whether we are aware of it or not. Is this so hard to believe? Do we gardeners see the thousands of seeds in the soil in early spring? No, but we certainly see all the weeds by early summer! The point is this. Christ is buried in us like a treasure and like a Seed. There is absolutely no way that this Seed is going to fail to bring about God’s life. It is a perfect Seed from perfect Father planted in the soul of man. When we look at others, we tend to focus our judging eyes on the “soil” instead of realizing WHO is growing there. Christ is all and in all- just wait and see what God will grow in our garden! Some cannot believe that Christ will become everyone’s Savior and Life, but these are the same who look at the mustard seed and call it dead!
LUKE 13:18; Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? 19] It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches.”
Since Christ is the Seed of God, then humanity is surely seen as the soil where He is planted. As Jesus explained, Christ is the treasure buried in a field. My friends the humbling truth is that OUR lives are like the soil for God to plant Christ. The real miracle then is when our life is brought up into and joined with Christ through those divine roots. Yes, Christ comes to life within us and we assimilate with this divine life through our consciousness. Just as the soil becomes the plant, so do we become the Body of Christ. Christ Jesus said that he was the vine and we are the branches. We become connected in spirit and consciousness for the sake of the Kingdom. We are here to grow.
Sowing is not just responsibility of God, but of us as well. Remember that we also have our own little gardens within us that we must carefully tend. The concept of sowing today then reaping our fruit in the future is central to many religions including Christianity.
2 CORINTHIANS 9:6; Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
In every life and in every moment we live, we are sowing seeds. These seeds can be our thoughts, deeds and desires – both good and bad. Every little seed we create has the potential to grow into something much larger than we could imagine. It is the universal and spiritual law of cause and effect. This “Christian karma,” if you will, can be summed up in the passage- we reap what we sow.
GALATIANS 6:7; Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8] The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
Christian karma insures justice and balance. The love we give to others we give to ourselves. The harm we do to others we do to ourselves. Perhaps these “effects” will not be realized in our current life, but make no mistake God will not be mocked as Paul says. We will reap what we sow sooner or later. Through each life we live, we are planting the seeds for the future. If we sow seeds of pain and suffering upon others, what kind of reward will we reap? If we sow the seeds of love and forgiveness then this is what will grow in us and feed us. Our reward is stored in heaven and guaranteed by the karmic law of the Master Gardener.
It is in the soul where our mind, our will and our desire produce all sorts of seeds. These seeds we sow are also grown in garden of our soul. Consider what Paul said in the above passage. If we place our mind, will and desire with the spirit (and not the flesh), we then reap “eternal life.” I believe the phrase “eternal life” is misunderstood in this and many other passages. The Greek phrase “aionion Zoë” has been translated “eternal life” in many Bibles. However, a better translation would be “age-lasting blessed life” or “age-lasting happy life.” “Zoë” means more the QUALITY of life and not actually life itself. This meaning then harmonizes with the law of reaping and sowing. What we sow in this life and this world will be reaped in the next life or beyond.
This same phrase is used in the parable of the sheep and the goats. This story is all about karma and not about salvation. Jesus says nothing about what these sheep and goats believed, but rather what they did- what seeds they had sown during their lifetime. He goes on to say that those who sowed good deeds will be blessed in their next life while the goats will suffer. This parable and the one about Lazarus and the rich man are NOT about salvation. They are about our life HERE in Hades, the place of the dead. Yes my friends, we are DEAD until Christ in us is our life! The Seed of God’s life has been planted in all. Christ comes to life as the Spirit of God rains His life upon us. Christ will grow to maturity in all because this is the Master Gardener will. Dear God, let your Spirit rain down and water us so that your Seed in us may grow!
ISAIAH 58:11; The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
The Spirit of God and water are unequivocally the givers of all life. Souls need God’s Spirit like plants need water. Every gardener knows the importance of watering. There are many farmers who use irrigation so that their fields are always “well-watered.” Being in Christ is like having that fresh spring flowing within us whose waters never fail. Without Christ (who is the Living water) in our lives, the garden of our soul will dry up like a desert and become lifeless. Yes, all other conditions can be perfect, but without water all plants wither in the scorching heat of the sun. So it has to be that God’s grace comes down to us like rain to keep us alive. This is how we grow and are saved. Without grace raining down and refreshing us, God’s powerful light of holiness and truth would wither and consume us. God is love and law – rain and sun. We need both of these to grow, mature and eventually produce the life of Christ.
PSALMS 104:16; The trees of the LORD are well watered, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
Those that serve God are more like trees than flowers. Unlike flowers that die off in the winter, the spirit of these believers returns year after year (life after life). There is continuous growth for those being led by the Spirit. Even so, God’s grace rains down upon all- trees and flowers alike.
MATTHEW 5:44; “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45] that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
God is unconditional love- agape love. This is what we are learning to do and to be- God’s image and likeness. Yes, even the “weeds” get watered from the rains of God. We will address those “weeds” a little later in this article, but suffice it to say that God’s love and truth have no boundaries. No religion, no government, no worldly thing can hold back God’s grace. This was especially true during that major meteorological event.
GENESIS 7:17; For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth… 21] Every living thing that moved on the earth perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind.
We have all heard that too much of a good thing is bad. Well, this was certainly true of the life-giving substance called water. It seems truly ironic that the substance plants completely rely on for life can kill them if given in an overabundance. Of course, God flooded the earth because He loved us. This physical flood should be understood as a shadow of a higher reality. First comes the natural and then the spiritual first the shadow and then the reality. The reality is that God is going to flood the world with his love. Jesus said that this “time of the end” would be like that of Noah’s day; and he is right except this time it will be a spiritual flood of cleansing. Yes, God’s grace can be likened to water, but can too much of God’s love be harmful to us? It doesn’t seem possible, but it can. Let me explain.
I recall a testimonial of a fellow believer who had the experience of too much of God’s love. It seemed that God had turned the faucet on high for a couple of days in this man’s heart. Overcome by a feeling of spiritual drowning, he couldn’t take anymore and asked God to stop. God’s love can certainly flood all life. It is the most powerful substance in creation. Why were the prophets afraid to look at God? The same reason we do not look at the sun directly. We can’t handle it. They were afraid because they would die.
The flood of water over land is no different than a flood of light upon a shadow. The shadow of the natural man cannot exist in the presence of the Lord. This is the crucial key to understanding. If God floods our being his agape love, our natural man is destroyed. All that is left is the person God created you to be. Many have had that experience of surrender, drowning, dying, but then pull back before the “old man” is dead. This is a natural fear because we don’t feel “ready” yet. Our God is patient with us because He knows the day will come when Christ in us will be revealed after His love floods our being. Then that person that we thought we were will be destroyed- that natural man of the world must be swept away because a new anointed man is revealed!
MATTHEW 13:29; “`No,’ he answered, `because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30] Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’“
Weeds seem inevitable even the most carefully tended gardens- and even that of God’s it would seem. A weed is usually defined as an unwanted plant or one that does the “wanted” plants harm. In God’s garden, ungodly souls are the weeds. These are those who are doing ungodly acts while doing harm to those trying to produce fruit for the Kingdom. Yet as we read, it is better to let them grow together in the world for the sake of the “wheat.”
If we can accept it, Christ likens humanity to either wheat or weeds. As Jesus later explains to his disciples, the weeds are the sons of the “evil one” while the wheat are those following Christ. In other words, this is the referring to the FEW that are saved by finding the narrow way and the MANY that will be destroyed. This sounds rather harsh, but there are many frightening passages about the destruction of those that do not seek, know or obey God.
These passages of destruction beg the question- how will ALL be saved if MOST are destroyed? We must consider what and “who” are being destroyed at the end of the age. As discussed in many articles, we are spirit that cannot be destroyed. Our spirit is who we truly are and we reincarnate into many different bodies and lives until Christ saves us. It is our spirit that will be saved from this lower world, which is hell. If, in ignorance we live as weeds, then that person of the world is destroyed. The carnal mind, the ego and the sinful natures are all destroyed. If we could remove these false coverings, Christ would be revealed. Christ is our true life from whom we have come.
So this is how God will save all of his children because HIS children are from His being and are spirit. We are not who the world would say we are, but what our Father says we are. He calls us children and the time will come when we grow as wheat for the sake of the Kingdom. According to Paul, all have been children of the devil even the disciples were deceived and followed the “evil one.” Saul himself was a child of the devil, so Saul had to be destroyed like a weed for the child of God to be revealed. When the carnal mind and ego control us, we are following the devil and are his children. This “person” will never enter the Kingdom of God. So many Christians refuse to accept that their faith will not save them- that is the carnal self and ego that believe they are. Jesus said that we must lose our (false) life to find our (true) life, but very few seem to realize what he is saying.
As I have discussed in several other articles, the natural forms we (spirit) take on when we come INTO this world will most certain perish. They are temporary and of the world. That born of flesh is flesh and will not inherit the Kingdom of God. If we are born of Spirit then we too are truly spirit. While it is true that the human being is body, soul and spirit, but if we peel back the layer all that is left is our spirit from God. Here is our true life and true identity and not from the body or the mind. The body is simply flesh, so we are not fat, skinny, tall or short. And the carnal mind worships the ego and the body in this lower kingdom. This prince of darkness will deceive us as long as it can because it knows that Christ will destroy him with the brightness of his coming.
Again, we must see that our life and true nature come from the spirit, which is from God. It is here where the Christ Seed grows. It is here where we join with God and the Truth. Everything that isn’t true and holy must be destroyed- this includes the many lives we may live as weeds. Consider the many other passages that speak of being burned (tested/judged) to remove the “hay and stubble” from our being. This divine fire of God burns away all that isn’t real and all that is left is the real you that is alive in Christ. Spiritual burning removes what is not needed. The lives we live as weeds are fruitless and will be destroyed at the end of every age.
MATTHEW 13:40; “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41] The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.
It seems pretty clear whom Jesus is speaking of here, but we have all lived this kind of life at one time or another. We have lived many different lives being many different “persons” but these were more like shadows than reality. These were more like characters of a dream. Once we awaken to our true identity in Christ, then we have eternal life. It is then when we are harvested for the Kingdom of God. We like Jesus, become food for those who seek salvation.
Now in our personal gardens, we must also do some weeding and burning. Our ungodly thoughts, deeds and desires are the unwanted foliage growing and choking out the growth of divine consciousness. Sinful behaviors and thoughts grow as we let them. We have charge over our gardens, but these “weeds” are not always so obvious to us.
One day I was hoeing my garden and my youngest son came up too see what I was doing. I told him that I was getting rid of the weeds. Knowing that this child of mine liked playing in the dirt, I wasn’t surprised when he asked if he could help. So we went into the garage to get him the right tool for the job. We went back out to the garden, and there I gave him a quick lesson on how to hoe weeds. I put him in the area where the tomatoes and peppers were planted because I thought this would be the easiest for him. Although even after pointing out what was a desired plant and what was a weed, he would still have to ask. And I was glad that he did! I think it is the same in our lives. Before we can ever clean the garden of the soul, we must know what to get rid of.
Weeds are something you have to stay on top of to control them. I am also reminded that closer inspection always reveals more weeds than I ever thought could be there. Even a week after I have weeded my garden, it seems to still be weed-free from a distance. If I just look out my house window, I see no weeds just those big beautiful plants that I have planted there. Upon closer inspection I start seeing a few weeds. As I reach down to pull those out, I see even more! The lesson here is that we must inspect, judge ourselves to find these weeds in our souls. The closer we scrutinize the more we will find.
I have a few more thoughts about weeds. We must remember weeds also like “fertile soil.” Sometimes our blessings from God can create a perfect environment for weeds to spring up. How many times in your life has God blessed you greatly and then you wrongly use this blessing to grow weeds? Perhaps you are blessed with knowledge, but then become arrogant or blessed with financial freedom and then become greedy. Also every gardener knows that weeds pull out easier after a rain. The spiritual translation could be this- every believer knows that our evil behaviors are removed much easier after God’s grace has softened our hearts and minds. If God cannot pull them out gently, then get ready for the hoe! And remember that just like weeds, those evil behaviors can return if we don’t get the root. Yes, we must get to the root of the problem, or it is likely to return. Jesus said that if one evil spirit was forced out of us, that it could return with seven others. Weeding our gardens is important for good spiritual growth. Remove them now or they will be burned, which can be uncomfortable. Something else that may not feel so good, but is necessary from time to time is pruning.
Ouch! Nobody likes to be pruned, but cutting away the dead or useless wood is sometimes exactly what we need to produce more growth and fruit. Gardeners know this and God knows this. Jesus had some very “sharp” words about what the Master Gardener will do to bring about more fruit.
JOHN 15:1; “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2] He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
Christ is the vine of our true life of this I am sure. It is not enough to be in this life, but we must also bear fruit because true faith produces good works (fruit). And as we read, even those who do bear fruit are pruned to bear even more fruit. Many argue about “once saved, always saved” dilemma, but it is really not question if we trust the words of Jesus.
We can and will be “cut off” from Christ if we bear no fruit. This is not a threat, but a reality and spiritual law in the Kingdom of God. On the other side of the argument, there is the belief of some that we need “do nothing” to be saved. On the surface this is also incorrect, but in a higher sense this “do nothing” approach is right on target. We cannot take credit for anything “we” do because all good things come from Christ. As Paul said, “no good can come from ME that is my sinful nature.” Any good fruit, any wisdom, any truth, any life we produce have come from Christ, not the natural man. So then, our spirit must remain active in Christ because this means we truly believe in the life and power of Christ within us.
We must see pruning as a beneficial act of love, not a punishment. God loves us and wants us to bear fruit. He gives us His only Son, Christ so we can do this. There is another passage that may not sound like a “pruning” passage, but that is because it has been misinterpreted. It is the passage from Matthew where Jesus speaks of the different fates of those on his left and those and his right.
MATTHEW 25:46; “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
This passage has been slightly mistranslated and thereby misunderstood for “ages.” This is saying EXACTLY what Jesus said in John 15:1. Let’s take a closer look at some key words in this frightening and seemingly absolute passage. First, this translation says that some will receive “eternal” punishment. Well, no THING is eternal. Only God is eternal. The truth in this matter is revealed with the Greek word “aionion” that means “age-lasting” and NOT eternal. Fortunately it is correctly translated in several literal translations of the Bible. For more information about other words and passages that have been mistranslated and misconstrued, you can check out this article- Is It ALL GREEK to You?
Next in the above passage from the NIV Bible, the Greek word “kolasis” has been translated as “punishment.“ Now, if punishment has a beginning then is must also have an end. So this “punishment” cannot be “eternal” because all that is eternal is outside of time, and therefore outside of beginnings and endings. Some fail to accept that only God has no beginning or ending. Yet, many religious leaders have used the fear of this so-called “eternal” punishment to keep the carnal souls in line and to even keep the money coming in. God cannot and does not rule our hearts with fear, but with love.
The other misnomer regarding this famous passage is the translation of the word “kolasis” itself. Kolasis DOES mean punishment, BUT more in the sense of chastisement that is a CORRECTIVE punishment like that of a father upon a child. Kolasis means chastisement, not torture. God is our Father, not a sadistic monster bent on serving an unjust and unholy design of supreme justice. Torture is to inflict pain and suffering to the satisfaction of the one administering it. Is this what the God you know and love is going to do with those who have lost their way? Chastisement is for the purpose of correcting an undesirable behavior or nature. With this in mind, we can harmonize the purpose of punishment with the statement, “God is love.” God will be all in all. Love will be all in all. Love never fails, so we must realize that is we who fail. We fail to understand the meaning of hell, of punishment and of being “cut off” from God. And speaking of being “cut off,” here is a little known fact about that Greek word “kolasis.” In some more accurate translations of the New Testament, the Greek word KOLASIS is translated “correction” and “chastisement” while in others it takes on more of a gardening theme.
MATTHEW 25:46; “And these shall go forth to the aionian CUTTING-OFF”
Emphatic Diaglott: “And these shall go away into age-lasting CUTTING-OFF”
The New Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Anointed
Here the word “kolasis” has been astutely translated “cutting off” – in other words divine pruning. You see! This harmonizes with all the other scriptures where Christ said God would prune off those who do not produce fruit. So many Bible readers fail to see this spiritual harmony in all that Jesus spoke. Many are taught by men who do not understand what God is doing. We must make all that we call truth harmonize. It must or it is not truth. For example, consider the Matthew passage; God is dealing with deeds, NOT faith. What “fruit” did you bear for the Kingdom of God? This is the question posed here. But their answer is, “Lord we never knew you; we were just doing what the spirit led us to do.” This was not a matter of carnal faith or belief, but a reality of WHOM they followed in their hearts! So what if every Christian knows about the man called Jesus! Without knowing Christ as our true life, we have no life nor can we produce good fruit!
Pruning is not only God’s responsibility, but ours as well because we each tend our own little plot of land in God’s universe. In our personal gardens of the soul, pruning can be making a sacrifice of our self and life. We sacrifice so that we can bear even more fruit. The more we give, the more we receive. This is the way of God. Like a the river who’s surrenders its water into the sea, the more it gives the faster the water flows through it. The Spirit of Christ runs through our branches if we bear fruit and then give it away. No matter how much pruning we may endure, our true life remains- who is Christ. We must trust that God only does what is best for us even if this means the sometimes-painful process of pruning.
ROMANS 11:22; Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23] And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24] After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!
For any that have been cut off from God, faith can and WILL restore that connection of life. As written about in Bringing God to Life, faith brings God’s life into our life. For God, all things are possible and nothing real is ever truly lost. Nothing is wasted and nothing is done in vain. Therefore, life has purpose and that purpose will not fail because God is God. Some really cannot fathom this concept. All that is has come from God and works toward the purpose of returning to God. Yes, the Potter can break the pot only to remake it anew! Yes, God can “cut off” those who need to be removed from His life and presence, but God will also graft us back in when we are ready. We all must go through these experiences of feeling cut off (hell) so that we can then fully appreciate the life we have when reattached to the True Vine of God’s life.
ECCLESIASTES 3:1; There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
ECCLESIASTES 3:2; a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
Of course the Byrds turned the above poetic passage into lyrics for their hit song in the 1960s. Certainly, this passage speaks to the truth that life is about cycles, or seasons. All gardeners have to stay very aware of the seasons and the weather within those seasons. This is especially true in our spiritual lives as well. We can all testify of those spiritual seasons and storms we must weather, whether we like it or not! Storms, wind and floods come into our spiritual lives for a purpose. We may not always understand the reason for the season, but trust in God to provide the right climate that will help bring us closer to Christ. As for me, I truly enjoy a good storm with heavy rain, thunder and lightning, but my spiritual storms are not usually so pleasurable. What we must always remember is that we are not alone. Not only are many others going through the same trials and tribulations, but God is also with us always through all our seasons.
GENESIS 8:22; “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”
In the natural realm, the meaning here seems clear, but spiritually I think that it is saying much more about our existence in this world. As long as we live as a natural man, being made of “earth,” we will continue to go through the seasons of life. Each life we live can be thought of a season for spiritual growth. Our season begins with God planting us in a new body that is placed in just the right environment. Then comes the growing season with heat, drought and storms. Whether we are aware of it or not, God is preparing us and growing His Kingdom in us. Then like the plants of autumn, our natural lives come to an end for time. During the period of rest, our spirit returns to God until planted again next season. This is the cycle of rebirth in the garden of the world.
We can also understand that within each life we live we will go through many different “seasons.” We all go through our spiritual ups and downs- times of growth and stagnation. These too can be thought of as seasons. This is similar to how we are a garden within a garden. In God’s garden there are seasons where we are born and die, but in our own garden we also go through the four seasons of the spiritual calendar. So let’s see what can we learn from those spiritual seasons changing within our lives.
MATTHEW 24:20; “Pray that your flight does not take place in the winter or on the Sabbath.”
Perhaps the most difficult season for us, spiritually speaking, is winter. In our spiritual winters, we are seemingly dead and barren. We may feel as if we have no life, no growth and no hope. Sometimes this season comes upon us because we are cold and frozen still usually by fear or perhaps despair. Or perhaps we have lost our faith and our “fire” no longer warms the soul. In our winter, the sun (Son) is often hidden behind “clouds” in our lives. And even when we do catch a glimpse of the sun, the light it sends does little to warm us because we are far from it. All we can do is sit and wait for it to end.
Still, this cold and dark season has its purpose in our spiritual life. In the natural, winter’s freezing cold has a purifying effect that is necessary to keep pest and disease from overtaking plants. We can see this happening in our spiritual life as well. Sometimes the best way to rid our lives of sinful behaviors is for God to send us into a chilling winter- you know, being “cut off”? Though we may fall into a depression (a pit?), our ungodly desires suffer more than our spirit does. We let go of them like trees let go of leaves infested with pests and disease. Winter strips us clean so our spirit can begin again- start anew in the spring! Thanks be to winter because when spring comes, our gratitude has swollen and is ready to burst like buds on a tree! We again have the desire to grow and grow right with God!
PROVERBS 16:15; When a king’s face brightens, it means life; his favor is like a rain cloud in the spring.
Let it rain dear LORD! I don’t know about you, but I love thunderstorms and rain. I can sit and watch it like it was some big sporting event or live stage show. Yes, those rain clouds certainly can brighten this man’s face. Yet, the rain we all need is God’s grace that is sure to come to us in our spiritual springs.
Spring is a time of rebirth, a time of hope and a time of new growth. This much-anticipated season comes and overtakes the dead and frozen feelings of winter. We again begin to feel God’s grace raining upon us and God’s faith and hope warming our hearts. It is the time for preparing the soil and sowing the seeds of a new life, new ideas and new love. In this season we feel like we have been born again! We are alive again! We are happily growing higher and higher to the heavens. Our branches reach out as our roots sink down deeper into the garden where God has planted us.
Of course, spring can also bring storms with strong winds to test us from time to time. Like the storms of spring, our spiritual storms not only bring us those testing winds, but also the rains of grace. Many times God’s grace rains down upon us the most during our times of great trials. Jesus would be a perfect example. God’s grace carried him through his toughest times. We should not curse the winds because they serve the purpose in making us stronger. Spring can be a time of incredible growth and fierce testing, but one thing is for sure- the Son draws closer and closer to us each day!
MARK 13:28; “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree. As soon as its twigs get tender and its leave come out, you know that summer is near.”
Summer is season of growing and especially maturing. Like the trees, we also add another ring to our girth. We add more wisdom, more faith and more branches as we grow higher and higher into the heavens. Summer is the time when we have our spiritual solstice in our relationship with God. The sun is high in the sky and this is when we get the most “light.” The days are long and we feel closer to God than at any other time.
Summer can bring heavy rains of grace, but sometimes God keeps the rain from us because we are not following His will. Other times, God wants to make our roots go deeper, so that we can endure the droughts that come our way. This is all part of the maturing process. As we matured and our roots are deep, we don’t need rains as often. Jesus was led into the desert, which symbolizes a spiritual drought. These dry times are there to teach us to rely completely on God for our life just as Jesus did.
Of course summer is the season when our “fruit” begins to develop. Each of us has our own fruit to bear according to what the Master Gardener has in mind. Just because we are putting on “fruit” doesn’t mean it is fit to eat. No one would pick an apple that is half grown because it would be small and bitter. So we must always remember in our spiritual lives not too rush the fruit that is growing in our gardens. Have you ever tried to feed someone this unripe fruit before? I know that I have. It may be an article I try to write before it is ready or speaking to someone before the Lord leads me to do so. We must let our fruit ripen in the garden of our soul before we offer it as food.
JOEL 2:23; Be glad O people of Zion, rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given you the autumn rains in righteousness.
Have you ever heard someone say, “I feel as right as rain”? Perhaps they were in someway referring to this passage from Joel. I think autumn does often bring a sense of peace and calmness. Growing has nearly ceased, the weather is mild and, of course, the HARVEST is near! This is a time of thankfulness and joy.
At this time, our spiritual gardens are reaping all that has been sown. We now hold in our hands the food for the coming winter and the seeds for next spring. All the spiritual fruit created in Truth and Love is to feed the hungry world. Some of these did not have a large harvest, but the Kingdom is based on sharing what we have been blessed with. The fellow gardeners of God are happy to sacrifice the bountiful harvest with all the Kingdom dwellers. Like the natural food of the earth today, when shared properly there is enough fruit of the Spirit to sustain the entire world. We need only to share it with those who are hungry. Apparently, Jesus had a moment when he was extremely hungry.
MARK 11:12; The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13] Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14] Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.”
Jesus seems a little peeved here. Doesn’t he? Is he right to be angry at this tree? Every now and then as we read the Gospels, we come across some rather harsh statements or actions taken by Jesus. I am glad we have these accounts because it reminds us that Jesus was complete in his humanity. He was exactly like us, but the good news is that we will become exactly like him! This is mankind’s destiny in Christ!
In the above passage, Jesus basically curses the tree for not bearing any fruit even though it was not the fruit-bearing season. What is this saying to us spiritually? What it the tree’s fault that it wasn’t producing fruit? Are we also asked to produce “fruit” in and out of season? Yes, in a sense, we are as Paul said in one of his letters.
2 TIMOTHY 4:1; In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2] Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction.
Paul says we should be ready to preach the Word in and out of season. Is it possible to bear fruit out of season? Well, I have two thoughts about this. First, we should understand that Jesus bore fruit all of the time once his ministry started because he became completely ANOINTED and became the Vine of life. So it is possible to bear fruit in all seasons if we remain IN CHRIST in the anointing. Being in Christ is like having a perpetually mild summer with LIVING water for irrigation. As Jesus showed us, God can certainly produce a spiritual climate in us that will bear fruit continually.
LEVITICUS 26:3; “If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, 4] I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees of the field their fruit.”
However, for those of us who are not so fortunate to find our garden in such a favorable climate yet there is another way to bear and share fruit. We must store it and invest what we do have. Consider the parable of the man who was given a talent and turned it into ten talents. Also consider the wise virgins who stored oil in their lamps. They made it through the dark times and were ready when Christ returned to them. Store the riches of God’s blessings and then invest them wisely. If you find the treasure, buy the field you found it in! In this way, you will have much to share even out of season.
JOHN 12:24; “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
It would seem the prime directive of all life is to produce even more life like itself. Life propagates life, but we must agree that ALL life has come from God. So then, the impetus behind the will of propagation comes straight from God. Because of its divine origin, the desire and need to propagate is the strongest we can know. As Jesus showed us in fact, when fully matured, this God-given motivation to spread our life will overcome even the fear of death.
JOHN 15:12; “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13] Greater love has no one than this – that he lay down his life for his friends.”
Not only did Jesus know the Truth, but he also lived the Truth by dying. God is love, and Love’s desire is to increase. Jesus’ ultimate desire was to spread his life, which is Christ. To do this, he knew that a seed must first die before it can produce more life like itself.
Have you ever considered the humble seed? I pondered that small container of potential life just the other day before I planted. Yes, I call it potential life because without the right circumstances it would never germinate. On the other hand it would never be a seed unless it first loses the life of the plant that first gave it life. What a paradox of life! The seed I held in my hand had to first be separated from the parent, the very plant that gave it life. It had to die and fall to the ground before it could ever sprout and begin life again. Wow! Thank God for Jesus who realized this mystery of life! The wisdom in the words of Jesus is unsurpassed. In him the Christ Seed grew and matured to produce a Savior of the world! This is how the Kingdom comes. It comes by Christ growing in us.
LUKE 13:18; Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? 19] It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches.”
Even before Jesus and all of creation, we should understand that the seed of God, which is Christ, died for us to be planted in us. Paul exposed this revelation and “mystery” in his writings, yet many still fail to fully grasp this divine concept and purpose of life. Many are so enamored by this world and their natural bodies when our earthly bodies and lives are merely the dirt for the Christ Seed to grow. In this eternal Seed is where our true life and identity are kept holy and vital. Our Christ Seed is that Seed of God that is indestructible and incorruptible through our earthly seasons.
1 CORINTHIANS 15:38; But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.
1 CORINTHIANS 15:42; So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43] it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44] it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
Christ is the Seed of God that is sown in all. This life will never die and will persist until God’s will is fulfilled. The will and desires of the ego are the weeds that must be destroyed. All that can be left in God’s garden is God’s Seed growing and producing the fruit for the Kingdom. The Christ Seed grows and spreads through creation until the Son of God has subdued all things He created.
1 CORINTHIANS 15:28; When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.
There is no other way. God will be all in all. All has come from God and all must return to God. Then the question is who am I? I will tell you who you are NOT. You are not a weed of the world because these false images will be gathered and burned. The many false lives we live are weeds in God’s garden. And yet, the Seed of God remains in us always until Christ forms in us and become our new life!
GALATIANS 4:19; My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you,
Our true life given by God lays dormant in this Seed until the time is right. When this Seed in us comes to life, then our true life will be realized. We are not of this world. We are who God says we are- offspring of the Most High. When Christ is our life and identity then God’s life has propagated through us. All have been created in God’s image, which is Christ. We all collectively make up the Body of Christ. Christ is the Seed of God that is sown in all. It will never die and will persist until God’s will is fulfilled.
EPHESIANS 4:6; There is one body and one Spirit just as you were called to one hope when you were called– 5] one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6] one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
God is over ALL and through ALL and in ALL. All means ALL not just those who call themselves “Christians.” Christianity is a label, but Christ is our only life. Yes God is all in all, but yet, God must raise our consciousness so that we can realize this. As we grow in consciousness, the ego of the natural mind is busted open like the hull of a seed. With this outer hull removed our true life can grow!
God desires for us to know and do His will on earth as it is in heaven. So, then this is our purpose- to prepare a place (temple/garden) for God to live. The Kingdom of God comes to earth by each of us becoming the Word made flesh. This can only be done through Christ becoming our only life as it did for Jesus. Consider the fruit produced by only one man who let God live through him, and then try to imagine a multitude of fruit bearing souls on the earth doing the will of God! This will be a spiritual harvest of epic proportions!
EXODUS 23:16; “Celebrate the Feast of Harvest with the firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field.” Celebrate the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field.
In most cultures, the end of harvest time has been a time of celebration. This is certainly true of God’s heavenly harvest of the earth. Yes, watching a garden grow and admiring its beauty can itself be satisfying, but the ultimate purpose is to produce a crop to harvest. In the case of mankind, God is harvesting our consciousness. The more consciousness is “grown” and then gathered, the closer we are to God and to God being realized as all in all. This is the cycle of life that we find ourselves being a part of. Before the realization of God being all in all comes, there is the time for growth.
God loves to see us grow because with each life we mature a little more. Our maturity in this world is complete when we have developed into the fullness of Christ. This is our goal and unfaltering destiny according to our Father’s will. In Christ not only are we doing the will of God, but we also inherit His fullness. So the harvest that we work for today is really our own in the moment and life of eternity.
GALATIONS 6:9; Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10] Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Like Jesus, those alive in the body of Christ become the bread of life to sustain the Kingdom of God on earth. Each day we are given opportunities to grow, reap and share this holy food for the Kingdom. Yes, we are the harvest of God. This is our purpose- to serve and sustain God. When God’s will is done through us, God is alive and pleased like the Farmer who had grown a crop then sat down and ate what he had harvested. Gardening teaches us about sacrifice. When we as earthly gardeners give our plants our very own blood, sweat and tears they, in turn, give us themselves. It is any different for God? God gives us His Spirit, Love and Truth and we are called then to give ourselves to Him- to be living sacrifices. Jesus was first to do this for the sake of God’s Kingdom.
1 CORINTHIANS 15:20; But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21] For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22] For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23] But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.
I love this passage because it says so clearly that all that have died following the way of Adam will be make alive in Christ. But yes, we must first follow in the way of Jesus, which is the key. Jesus is the firstfruit of God’s image, Christ, being manifested on earth. Jesus grew, matured and bore Christ for the sake of God’s Kingdom. All will do this in time- the appointed time. Jesus said that many were “ripe” in his age. I believe this is true today as well. I see that many are being called to a higher life, higher awareness and a higher will. When does this spiritual harvest end? It does not end until each Seed of God planted here is harvested. Do any suppose that a Seed from the Almighty Gardener would fail to germinate, grow and produce? Not a chance! Christ is the Seed of God that can never perish, but all natural men do and will perish.
JOHN 15:5; “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6] If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”
It is nothing less than a miracle that a tiny seed planted in cool, dark soil of spring can bring forth a bountiful harvest in the fall. One seed produces hundreds more, which can produce enough to feed a nation. It is no different in the Kingdom of God.
MATTHEW 9:37; Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38] Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Those in Christ are His workers in the field. The harvest is the fruit of the Spirit- food for feeding the Kingdom of God here on earth. In a sense, we go through a spiritual transformation as we grow in God’s garden. When our spirit was new and our mind very natural, we were like flowers that withered away. As we matured in spirit and consciousness, we became like trees that returned season after season eventually producing good fruit. Finally, we are no longer the trees in the garden but wake up and find ourselves fellow workers of God. We are the angels of God who work to harvest the world of God’s spiritual crop.
REVELATION 14:14; I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one “like a son of man” with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15] Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” 16] So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.
Yes my brothers and sisters, the earth is still ripe! Jesus said it was ripe in his day and the Kingdom continues to produce the life of Christ to this day! Every generation is like a season to the Master Gardener. In every season mankind is reaping spiritual food for God and the Kingdom. In this way, God’s Kingdom grows greater and greater. In this way, the Body of Christ is nourished and grown. In this way, the Body of Christ is raised back into the fullness of the Master Gardener who planted Himself and will receive Himself back in the end. All we have to do is what all plants in a garden do– GROW!
May the light and love of Christ make your garden flourish!
GARDENING OF GOD [Brad Edwards] 1