How Does Your Garden Grow?
Every spring I observe with wonder as new life sprouts all around. Trees shoot forth fresh green leaves. A variety of wildflowers bloom with many-colored splendor. The miracle that unfolds each spring is truly amazing. The same remarkable cycle has been in place for thousands of years. In Genesis 1:11 we find the origin of this cycle: "God said, 'Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth;' and it was so" (NKJV).
How does your garden grow? By producing what you plant in it.
God placed every plant in the earth and made it to produce after its own kind. Within the seed lies the potential for fruitfulness. An apple seed will produce an apple tree, which will produce a harvest of apples. A tomato seed will produce a tomato plant, which will produce a harvest of tomatoes. When you plant an orange seed, given the proper conditions, it will grow into an orange tree and produce oranges. The potential within a seed is fabulous. A single seed can produce a tree that will bring forth a harvest year after year.
In Mark 4:14-20 Jesus used the Parable of the Sower to explain the power of the Word of God. The sower sowed the Word on different kinds of soil, which represent people. Some of the seed fell on stony ground, and when trouble and persecution came because of the Word, the people stumbled and fell away. Seed that fell among the thorns did not grow up and produce fruit because the cares, anxieties, and distractions of the world suffocated the seed. Notice in each of these examples the problem does not lie with the seed. The problem lies with the soil. The seed is the Word of God and we are the soil.
In verse 20 Jesus talked about the good soil: "Those sown on the good (well-adapted) soil are the ones who hear the Word and receive and accept and welcome it and bear fruit--some thirty times as much as was sown, some sixty times as much, and some [even] a hundred times as much" (Amplified Bible).
We can observe three things about the good soil:
1. "Those sown on the good ... soil are the ones who hear the Word." The foundation to being fruitful believers is to read and obey God's Word daily. God's Word must occupy first place in our lives for us to walk in victory and be fruitful Christians.
Many years ago, after the birth of my fourth child, I determined to regain my pre-pregnancy shape again. I had several clothing items I had not been able to wear for many months. I hung those clothes at the front of my closet, so I would see them often and be reminded of my goal. I shopped for groceries and planned meals based on my weight-loss goal. I got up every day and walked three to five miles, even in the rain. Within three short weeks I could tell a big difference. Within six weeks I had reached my goal of losing seventeen pounds.
I could never have attained such quick success without a daily commitment to weight loss. I made it a priority each day to eat right and exercise. In much the same way, if we give God's Word first place, we will soon see a huge difference in our lives. You can begin by simply reading your Bible and asking the Holy Spirit to give you revelation as you read. Take a single verse, keep it on your desk at work, and refer to it often. Listen to anointed men and women preach on Christian radio and television, tapes, or CDs.
2. We must receive, accept, and welcome God's Word. A good host receives, welcomes, and accepts her guest. She plans for the specific time her guest will arrive. She makes ready her house and plans for the pleasure and comfort of her guest. We should receive God's Word as we would a valued companion. Just as we would prepare and make our home a special place for receiving a guest, we prepare to receive God's Word by planning and setting aside time daily to read the Bible. Try reading from a different version of the Bible; it will add new light to what you read.
3. Once the Word is heard and received it bears much fruit. Isaiah 55:11 says, "So shall My word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it" (Amplified Bible).God's Word never returns void; it is always fruitful. In fact, in Isaiah 61:11 The Amplified Bible refers to "the self-fulfilling power of His word." The Word of God placed in the believer's heart is a powerful force destined to bear fruit. We want our lives to be fruitful. We know Jesus wants our lives to be fruitful. John 15:8 tells us that God receives glory when we bear much fruit.
If we sow the seed of God's Word continually into our life's circumstances, we will find the once dry and barren places in our lives begin to blossom and be fruitful.
Begin firmly planting the Word in your heart by continually meditating on the promises that apply to your particular situation. You might pray a prayer such as the following:
"Father, I am so thankful that You love me. I believe that You want what is best for me in every circumstance of my life. I know that You will provide the health, strength, and provision that I need no matter what I face or how I feel. Your Word says that You will meet all my needs according to Your glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19). I thank You now for answering my prayer."
So, how does your garden grow? By producing after the seeds planted in it. Genesis 1:11 says that God created every seed to produce after its own kind. God's Word is light and life to all who receive it. It is the incorruptible seed that will always bear fruit.