God likens our spirit to that of a garden with a strong fence. Like all gardens, we must tend and protect our spiritual garden from enemies bent on destroying what God is doing. If there is a broken fence around our garden, satan will destroy the good fruit God is trying to grow.
The parable of the garden
A day after our escape from the little trailer where 3 drunks tried to kill us, God brought our homeless family to a cabin by French Lake just outside Fredericton, New Brunswick. The little cabin we stayed at was part of a lot owned by the co-pastor of the church that rescued our family. They lived in a large house and the cabin was just a short distance away in the horse paddock.
As part of our arrangement to live there for a time, we agreed to tend the little garden. I love soil and growing plants so Wanda and I looked forward to the exercise and the opportunity to be of service to our host.
Wanda and I worked long hours digging up manure and hauling it from their farm over to the lake lot where the garden was. Once there, we dutifully tilled the soil and incorporated the manure until the ground was ready for planting. When we finished, our host planted the seeds she had long been wanting to plant but lacked the proper plot to do so.
There was one small item that bothered us as we worked though. As I looked over to the neighbor’s yard, I noticed a very tall chain-link fence around the whole garden. Curious, I asked our host why they needed a fence. She told us that the deer in the area often come and feast on the delectable greens if the garden is not well protected. Without a proper fence they destroy the plants before they can produce any fruit.
After this I looked at the pathetic orange mesh that surrounded her garden. The broken fence was little cared for and not reinforced. To enter the garden we just had to step over the meager barrier. We wondered if her garden was the next meal for hungry animals, and after a few weeks we had our answer. The deer walked over the broken fence and devastated the delicious greens. Our host wasted the work Wanda, and I performed because she did not put in the effort to protect the tender plants.
The lesson of the garden
The visual was a clear picture for us. Our spiritual life is a garden that we must tend but also protect. God puts a great amount of effort in nurturing the green shoots of spiritual maturity until they bear the wonderful fruit of righteousness.
We will lose His valuable work however, if our spiritual garden is surrounded by a broken fence.
The enemy we face comes from three directions, the enemy, the world and our own ‘self’ nature. Of these three the ‘self’ nature is the most insidious for it dwells within each of us like a Trojan Horse. Our ‘self’ knows every part of us and is hell bent on destroying any spiritual progress we make. To protect our garden, we cannot have a broken fence. We must reinforce the spirit within us with the tools God has given. These tools include humility, sacrifice, wisdom, gratitude, obedience and faith.
These tools, plus many others, will not only repair breaches in the fence but will reinforce the wall even further. At the same time these tools will also nurture our garden and the fruit of relationship with our Beloved. We cannot be passive in protecting our gardens with God. The enemy constantly prowls around (1 Peter 5:8) looking for any weakness he can exploit. We relax our diligence to our destruction.
A broken fence isn’t an accident, it is proof of neglect.
If we value our relationship with Jesus, we should fiercely protect our spiritual garden from all enemies. Our host did not value her garden as she said she did for she did nothing to protect it even though she was well aware of the threat. Our host wasted the valuable time and effort we put into her garden through her negligence. Likewise, we put our own relationship with Jesus at risk and will waste the good work He has done in our lives if we are not diligent.
Our garden with God
Satan entered the Garden of Eden and destroyed the fellowship Adam and Eve had with God. (Genesis 3:23-24) Today he is just as determined to destroy our relationship with Jesus. Adam and Eve were not diligent in protecting the garden they shared with God from the enemy. How many times do we declare our passion, love and desire for God only to find the fire put out by our own ‘self’ nature? There is no one else to blame for our negligence. The fence broke because of our dereliction of duty and the enemy destroyed God’s good work.
A spiritual garden with a broken fence condemns us to a life of two steps forward, one step back.
Today we can correct that wrong by mending the broken fence around our spiritual garden. We can repent of the negligence that allowed ‘self’ to destroy the green shoots of faith God wants to grow. If we are diligent and faithful to protect the garden within He will help us. Today, If you hear His voice I urge you to listen and be wise. Do not the enemy destroy the spiritual garden God has planted within you but nurture and protect the Life within.
Homer and Wanda