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Sunday, March 27, 2011

What is Growing In My Garden?

"It is for freedom
that Christ has set us free.
Stand firm, then,
and do not let yourselves
be burdened again
by the yoke of slavery."
Galatians 5:1 NIV

As I am walking into the garden this morning there is a lilt in my step. The birds are praising God and so am I. My first thoughts are pure and full of praise for my Savior who has set me free from the bondage of sin and death. My Savior, the one who has conquered death and the grave! Heavenly thoughts stir up nothing but pleasure because I know that heaven will be my eternal home because I have been set free to live with Jesus forever.

As I enter the garden the Master Gardner greets me with a smile, a hug, and hands me a freshly clipped red rose that is still bathed in the morning dew. I accept his overtures of love, and respond back with “I love you too.” I think…hmmmm… the mind of Christ. I wonder what he is thinking today.

I don’t have to wait long before the Master’s voice comes to me in a gentle whisper. Paula, I want to set you free from the bondage that still enslaves you here on this earth. I want you to stand firm and not allow yourself to be burdened by the yoke of slavery. My response is, “Lord, what do you mean?” He tells me that once I was enslaved to sin but he set me free. He further explains that even thought I have that freedom; I still remain in bondage to the results of sin while I am here on this earth.

Jesus lovingly explains that Satan wants to keep me in that place of bondage so that I will be an ineffective Christian and in addition to that he wants to steal my joy. The Master Gardener reminds me that this is serious business because Satan wants me to live in bondage to my fears, my weaknesses, my hurts and my resentments. He wants me to feel that I am worth nothing. Now my Savior adds, “I on the other hand want to set you free from those very things that are growing in your garden of your heart. I want to uproot all of those deep rooted, poisonous plants and I have the power to do so if you will trust me.”

Jesus then brings to my memory something that happened last summer. I was visiting a beautiful formal garden. In the middle of this garden set a gorgeous marble sculpture of an angel. As I admired that work of art I couldn’t help but wonder how the sculptor was able to take that huge block of marble and have this beautiful angel be the end result. I remembered hearing my art teacher say that the sculptor must first see in his mind the object that he wants to carve, and in this case, an angel. He then begins his work, cutting away anything that is NOT angel. It may take him many years but the end result is a gorgeous angel.

How interesting that God would bring this to my mind. Could it be that this is exactly what God is trying to do with my life? It is in my mind that the Master begins to work on his masterpiece. The goal is to remove anything that isn’t Jesus from my life! This work of art began the day I invited Jesus Christ to come into my life and it will not be finished in my lifetime. However, it will all come together and be unveiled in heaven when I behold him and then I shall be like him. “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.” Romans 8:29 NIV Today and every day many thoughts will enter my mind that does not represent Jesus’ thinking. I cannot control those thoughts but I can control what I do with those thoughts. All Jesus asks of me is to choose to take that thought captive; it is my responsibility to give that negative, sinful thought to him.We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV Jesus in return will set me free one thought at a time. One day at a time. This is how I will begin to have the mind of Jesus Christ.

This is God’s plan for you as well. Whatever is growing in your heart’s garden that is not lovely, God wants to uproot. He wants to take the heart of every believer and sculpt it into his likeness. He does this by cutting away all that does not look like him. He plants beautiful flowers of grace that surround your life’s sculpture and when Satan comes around trying to destroy all that is beautiful and good the Master Gardner is on hand to uproot any weeds that threaten to choke out his grace. God is faithful to keep a watchful eye on all that is growing in my heart’s garden and in yours. Only in heaven will the finished work of our life lived here on earth find its place in eternity.


What negative, sinful thought does God want to set you free from?

Do you believe God has the power to do so?

Why are you hanging on and cherishing this thought?

Is this thought stealing your joy?

Do you want to take this thought captive and entrust it to Jesus?


Dear God,

Today I see that Satan is stealing my joy. The nerve of him to try to rob me of something so precious! God, I am feeling very weak here and I am not sure that I can take that thought captive. You see Father, I like that thought. It protects me and it brings comfort to me in my pain. It keeps me in a safe place where I do not have to take a leap of faith or forgive the unforgivable. I need your Holy Spirit to empower me so that I can take that sinful thought captive. I am just lying to myself when I say that this thought is protecting and comforting me. I realize that I am not in a safe place. Please God, I need your help. I now take this thought captive and in the name of Jesus Christ, ask you to free me from this bondage. Replace that sinful thought with your heavenly thought of grace. Restore in me the joy of your salvation. God, please cut away, one day at a time, all that does not look like you. I ask you to uproot all of the things that are growing in my garden that are holding me in bondage. I thank you God, for the work that you are doing in my life.

In Your Son’s Name I Pray. Amen.