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The Missing Element


Hearing God in the Garden: A summer blog series


I do not remember exactly when I discovered my love and passion for gardening. Quite possibly it began when I was a little girl. During those years, I was gifted so many opportunities to watch my mom make the outdoors come to life with her planting abilities. Truthfully, everything that she planted would thrive under any condition. I was always amazed at her diligence, patience, and gentleness while planting. She has this knack for seeing the beauty that would become before it even existed. She made it look so simple and so natural.


Fast forward many years later, I clearly remember planting my first garden. Because of the beauty of my childhood memories spent outside with my mom, I had this false pretense that it would be as simple for me as she made it look. My plan was to find some dirt, dig a hole, stick the plant in, add a little water here and there, and voila --months later I would have a beautiful thriving garden. Well, the garden I had planted did not exactly match my vision or expectations. I mean... it was pretty, it provided a small harvest, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it was just lacking in areas. Some plants were overcrowded, some days the watering just did not happen, and fertilizing –well what did that even mean? My garden was planted, but unfortunately, it was missing some crucial elements necessary for it to produce a plentiful harvest.


Year after year, I grew in my knowledge of gardening. I spent time learning the ins and outs of how to make it successful. Mistakes were my teacher and corrections were a must. To this day, I am still increasing my understanding of the details of my garden. One of the most important lessons learned was learned just this year! I planted my squash plants at the perfect time. They grew quicker than anything else in the garden. The leaves were enormous and were the most perfect shade of green. It was not long until the vibrant orange blooms appeared which then turned into little baby squash. Sadly, a few days later those baby squash plants turned brown on the ends and died. What had happened? I had taken great care to do everything just as it was supposed to be done. I had given proper spacing, water, fertilizing –everything I thought I was supposed to do. I soon found out that there was one element missing…calcium. There just wasn't enough calcium. Even with all my efforts, the squash that were growing would never reach the intended maturity. Why? Because when one crucial element is missing –so is the fruit



After realizing that my garden was missing a necessary element, I added some calcium to my squash plants. Shortly after that, I began to get fully mature squash. My life and my walk with Christ resembled my squash plants because truthfully, there was a crucial element missing –and so was the fruit.





"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you." John 15:16

I had spent years trying to work to earn the favor of God. I had exhausted myself attempting to do and say all the right things in order to be closer to the Lord as well as trying to live up to what the world expected of me. I attended church every Wednesday and Sunday, I read my Bible daily and prayed frequently. What I had failed to realize is that I was chosen by God and created to bear fruit for Him. Not on my own abilities but by relying solely on Him. I had spent years living partly in the world trying to fulfill my own happiness and partly with God. My life was not bearing the fruit that He deserved. Do you know why? Because if one element is missing, so is the fruit.


The element that I found to be missing in my walk with Christ was surrender... total and absolute surrender to my Father in Heaven. I believed He was who He said He was and I trusted that His Word was true, I just had not come to the realization that it was His plans that were the ones that I should have been seeking instead of my own. That I could not rely on my own strength or abilities because they would never come close to His sovereignty and might. And that He had created me and chose me to bear fruit and be His disciple with a plan for a purpose. But in order to do that, I had to abide in Him and surrender to His plan. With surrender comes the giving of ourselves for the sake of Christ. Knowing that ultimately, our joy and fulfillment will never be truly met by the world, but in Christ alone.


“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5

Apart from Christ, I can do absolutely nothing. This proclamation is a necessity. The moment we recognize, believe, and confess that we have no authority, no strength, and no power outside of Him; our lives will bear fruit. This surrender requires us to let go of any desire that isn't in agreeance with our Savior and rely on Him for the fulfillment of every aspect of our lives. And when our wants and desires do not line up with His, we change courses. Secondly, it means that we recognize daily our need for a Savior and we rely on Him to fulfill our needs. And lastly, we understand that it is through surrender that our lives bear the fruits of righteousness that come from Christ alone. God will never settle for part of our lives. If we belong to Him, He wants us to give it all to Him and nothing less. As children of the one true King, we should be willing to offer ourselves as living sacrifices and to say without hesitation, "God, here is my life, use me for your purposes that I may glorify you in all that I do."



*Are there things in your life that you desire more than Christ?


*Is your life producing fruit for Christ?


*Have you surrendered your entire life to Christ?


If you have never surrendered your life to Christ 100%, I pray that today would be the day. God wants all of you...your trust, your time, and your life, willingly surrendered to Him. It is at this place that you will find joy like you have never known before.


 

Spiritual Disciplines


Spiritual Disciplines have been such a ginormous part of my growth in Christ. These disciplines changed my daily walk with the Lord and have taught me about reliance and dependence on Him! My prayer is that this space can help deepen your knowledge and understanding by teaching you to lean in closer to God. With that being said, my goal is to incorporate these disciplines slowly so that you can gain a clear picture and understanding of each one as well as learn how to incorporate them into your daily walk with the Lord. Here is a list of the 8 disciplines that we will cover. If these disciplines are already a regular part of your day, now is a great opportunity to reach out to a friend that could use some help learning and growing.


  • Bible Study

  • Memorization

  • Meditation

  • Prayer

  • Worship

  • Evangelism

  • Fasting

  • Solitude

We have now covered the eight tangible spiritual disciplines that growing in God focuses on. IF you missed any of these, please go back and review them in the past blogs.


 

This week, the daily readings will focus on bearing fruit for Christ as well as the importance of surrendering our lives to Him.

This week's Bible Study:


-MONDAY: Galatians 1

-TUESDAY: John 15

-WEDNESDAY: Galatians 2

-THURSDAY: Galatians 5

-FRIDAY: Matthew 7:7-29

-SATURDAY: Luke 9

-SUNDAY: Romans 12




 

This week's verse to memorize and meditate on:

"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you." John 15:16



 

Tips and challenges this week:

  1. If you have not already, begin implementing spiritual disciplines into your daily walk with God.

  2. Some like to begin by adding one at a time.

  3. Dig deeper and gain a better understanding of the meaning and purpose behind each discipline.

  4. Find an accountability partner that can encourage you in your time spent with the Lord. (For help with this, check out our accountability groups. Scan the QR code at the bottom of this page for more information.)





 

Private Facebook Discussion Group

Would you like to dig a little deeper into your weekly reading and spiritual disciplines? Join our Facebook group where we learn, grow and encourage one another.



 
Questions?

If you have questions or things that you don't understand, please email them to me and I will add them to the Q&A section. I can't promise you that I will have all of the answers, but I can promise I will do my best to find them if I don't have them.


 

Growing in God

Would you like a tool to encourage your growth in God? Check out my newly released 12-month spiritual disciplines book/journal. This journal will give you a brief understanding of 8 tangible spiritual disciplines as well as give you a space to implement these disciplines into your daily walk with God.


 






Are you searching for an accountability partner or a group? A person that can encourage you in your walk with the Lord? joyfully HIS has made this option available to you. Scan the QR code for more information or to sign up.






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