July 01, 2009

God's Garden

Galatians 5:16-26

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness …
Galatians 5:22-23


It surprises me how often the Bible uses the imagery of gardening or fruitfulness to describe believers in Christ. The Old Testament prophets described God’s people as a garden or vineyard (Isaiah 5; Ezekiel 19). In the Psalms, the faithful believer is compared to a tree planted by water, yielding its fruit in season (Psalm 1).

Jesus himself spoke of the human heart being like hard soil, rocky soil, thorny soil, and good soil for the seed of God’s Word to grow in (Mark 4). He also talked about himself as a vine, and he said believers are like its branches that bear fruit (John 15).

In our reading for today the apostle Paul writes about spiritual fruit as well—“the fruit of the Spirit.”

God chose these pictures of gardening and farming to describe the life of a believer because they help us see the style of the Holy Spirit’s work in our life. The Spirit’s work in us is a process—a budding, blossoming, ripening, growing, maturing process like that of a viny plant or fruit tree. Once we belong to Jesus by faith, the Spirit begins a lifelong process of spiritual growth within us!

Over the course of this month, we’re going to explore the fruit of the Spirit that Paul referred to—“love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”—and along the way we’ll discover how the Spirit of God is at work in us today!

God, thank you for your Son, Jesus, who gives us life in a way like a vine supplies life to its branches. Thank you for working in us by your Holy Spirit for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

About the author — Shawn Brix

Rev. Shawn Brix has served as pastor in several Ontario churches. He and his wife, Jenny, have three children.

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