Beautiful roses & smelly mulch (lessons from the garden) - part 1
[The Holy Spirit - part 2] - We've been attempting a bit of gardening. It's been fun and a bit of a learning curve.
It's also teaching me some life lessons. Lesson number 1 comes from pruning roses.
Apparently if you have a dead branch on your rose bush and you don't cut it off then it slowly begins to kill the rest of the rose bush - so it needs to be cut off - to be pruned (horticulturists - if I've got my facts wrong I apologise but its a good life lesson all the same).
In our life, we need to cut things off - to prune attitudes, activities, emotional patterns, sins, behaviours that are killing us. Jesus talks a lot about this as do many other writers in the Bible. Jesus says pluck out your eye if it leads towards sinning and death or cut off your arm - it will be better for you in the long run.
When it comes to moving in the powerful love of the Holy Spirit we need to have a way to cut off the things in our life that are hurting our ability to do that. These are things that grieve the person of the Holy Spirit, they are things that quench His powerful love flowing through us. They may seem trivial - an outburst here or a slip up there (and there is always grace to be received) but they get into our souls and kill our intimacy with God.
There's lots of religious words for it - consecration, sanctification, holiness - its the idea of setting yourself apart for the sole purpose of loving God and making His love known to others. It's not easy - it takes all we have but it's 'our part' in seeing the powerful love of God show up in and through us.
So what do you need to cut off today? What rhythms do you need to put in your life to help this process? These are sometimes called 'spiritual disciplines' but that doesn't sound to wonderful so lets call them 'rhythms of grace'. They are practices you put in your life to help train you to grow-up in love. In your life you need 'cutting off' rhythms. Here's a few tried and tested spiritual practices that Jesus followers have been using down through the ages to help with the cutting off process:
1. Sabbath rest - a day of cutting off the business, anxiety, pressure of life and enjoying being present with family and God
2. Fasting - we all love this (lol) but it is essentially a cutting off of our appetites (food or other) to focus our attention on the powerful love of God
3. Solitude - this is a cutting off of the expectations and demands of others in your life and removing yourself for a time from their influence
4. Silence - this is a regular short time of cutting off from the clutter of information that comes to us on our phones, computers, t.v.'s and our own busy minds - an intentional period of quiet to let our souls breathe
5. Generosity - this is where we give stuff away (usually our money but can be our time) for the sake of cutting off the influence of our stuff on our emotions, time and energy.
So why not establish some 'rhythms of grace' in your life to help you with the cutting off of the things that distract you from the Spirit and use up all your energy and emotions on the wrong things.
And, if you have sin in your life - it is hurting you and others so find a way to cut it off before it kills the rest of the beautiful rose plant!
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener...He prunes (cuts) every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit." John 15 v 1-2
That's lesson number 1 from the garden - in the next part we'll look at the lessons we learn from smelly mulch! catch up on our Holy Spirit Series here