During my walk today, I passed by a thickly tree and foliage-lined ridge. The sunlight of a warm summer morning shone through the leaves and limbs, and I marveled at the beauty of the scene. I marveled even more when noticing the slightly open gate of a fence so covered by the fauna that I had not even realize it existed. The entrance no longer led anywhere, other than into the overgrowth of property that may have once included a yard, or even a garden, but which no longer could make such a claim.
"I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: so shall thy poverty come" (Proverbs 24:30-34).
Solomon's admonition speaks not to horticulture, but rather to the culture of our hearts. God calls us to view our spirits as the garden wherein He planted "the Rose of Sharon" when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ (Song of Solomon 2:1). "Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23). He calls us to steward our interior being by prayerfully abiding in His Word, and by exposing ourselves to the influences that enable our capacity to heed the Apostle Paul: "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things" (Philippians 4:8). How easily do the thorns and nettles cover the face of our hearts if fail to avail ourselves of the means of tending this holy garden wherein the Rose seeks good soil in which to bloom into beauty and fragrance.
Cultivating any yard, field, or garden requires time, diligence, and the sacrifice of other pleasures and endeavors. Tending the heart is no different, and beckons us to even greater application and attention. The stewards of God's heart gardens, as it were, require His Word, prayer, fellowship with faithful believers, exposure to godliness-enhancing influences, and a watchful eye for the first signs of thorns and nettles. Moreover, we sometimes realize that overgrowth already covers portions of our plot of responsibility. Repentance and confession commence our repair as we trust the Lord for His forgiveness and cleansing. We then proceed to avail ourselves of the graces provided whereby we replace sloth and ignorance with the recognition that God so values our the garden of our hearts that He planted His Son therein…
"Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to Thy voice: cause me to hear it."
(Song of Solomon 8:13)
Weekly Memory Verse
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.