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How does your garden grow?

I look at the weeds which overspread my garden, and breathe out an earnest wish that they were eradicated. But why? What prompts the wish? It may be that I may walk out and say to myself, "In what fine order is my garden kept!" This is pride. Or, it may be that my neighbours may look over the wall and say, "How finely your garden flourishes!" This is vanity. Or I may wish for the destruction of the weeds, because I am weary of pulling them up. This is indolence. So that even our desires after holiness may be polluted by ill motives. Under the greenest sods worms hide themselves; we need not look long to discover them. How cheering is the thought, that when the High Priest bore the iniquity of the holy things he wore upon his brow the words, "HOLINESS TO THE LORD:" and even so while Jesus bears our sin, He presents before His Father's face not our unholiness, but his own holiness. O for grace to view our great High Priest by the eye of faith!

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Morning and Evening (8 January, Morning: "The Iniquity of Holy Things")


Often, I truly don't care about the weeds in my garden. I don't give anyone access to that section of it, so there's little danger of anyone seeing the chaos. Instead, I give guided tours of the more well-kept parts, appropriately avoiding singing my own accolades, but being sure to set myself up to be admired. I even show a couple of weeds, to demonstrate my humility. But the real mess is quietly tucked away.

Sometimes I hate it, acknowledging by some grace that it's not supposed to be this way, that my reputation as a gardener is a fraud. And of course, my motives are as mixed as Spurgeon's illustration. Yet I must also confess that quiet, compelling grace, the genuine desire for my garden to be pleasing to Him. That desire is not born of my spirit, but of His. It's a conviction that serves a greater purpose than simply a call to obedience and discipline (though it is that, too—make no mistake). It is a longing for His garden, and for the Gardener's work to be done in mine. And it is not just the ignorant innocence of Eden. The suffering of Gethsemane is also part of this garden. That's not some compromise or mistake—it is to the glory of the Gardener.

Comments

I think we ALL do what you're saying you do. Even if we're willing to show off more weeds than the average person, there are still PLENTY left hidden from sight. Just like walking through my house. My main rooms are immaculate and decorated to perfection... but don't open the closets. :D
I looked in the mudroom. ;-)
And lived to tell about it. ;)
That's right!!
"Even so while Jesus bears our sin, He presents before His Father's face not our unholiness, but his own holiness. O for grace to view our great High Priest by the eye of faith!"

This is painful in its conviction. I've got a messy garden right now, and am going about caring for it in entirely the wrong way. Like you, I'm a fraud. But my genuine desire is to please Him ... and in the confusion, I must remember whose glory is at stake.

Thank you for writing.
that was beautiful.