I got into my garden this week, and I discovered something. My garden has sprung up and the empty spaces are filling in well. The beauty of it is so visible now when only a few weeks ago it was looking very sad. I had given it attention, weeding, watering, pruning, and even moving some things around so they grow better. It worked, and now the garden is happy.
Our lives are like that garden; we need the attention, weeding and watering, pruning, and even the moving of things to grow into our best possible selves. So what is our best self?
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Let the significance of the first part sink in. God chose you, to be the holy people he loves! Wow! He views us as having the capacity, in some way to be able to walk and live in an identity of Holiness. That is our best self, to be living as a holy people demonstrating those qualities in who we are.
To apply the garden symbolism to that verse; what things does God want us to give attention to, to weed, water, prune, or move out for a better pattern of growth? How is my humility growing? Is it little and boxed in by the weeds of pride and judgment? Or how about patience? Are we flowering in patience or only trying to mask the presence of frustration and anger? Is gentleness healthy, or has it been infected by harshness and over run by thistles? Is tenderhearted mercy alive after the winters of life? It is at the core tender after all. And how about kindness? Is kindness reproducing or has growth stopped by selfishness and greed?
God has planted the capacity for all those good things within us. That is how we are called to be holy, because he makes a way for us to achieve our identity in Christ and in his love. That in itself should change us, knowing who we are capable of being should give us vision. For in all the moments we think, “I can’t do it”; we are actually arguing with what God has spoken about us. The truth in those moments is that we just don’t want to; we don’t want to respond holy. Some days, the situations of life are so big that the choice of kindness and gentleness is simply to keep our mouths shut and regroup, heal and figure out how best to respond later. That is work. But as we practice this, it becomes more immediate and more a natural part of our identity to respond in the identity of being a holy people; in tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
I have some plants that were started from seed this year and we are in the process of “hardening off” those young plants. To do that you expose them to weather outside for increasing amounts of time for a couple of weeks so they get strong enough to live and grow.
hmmm…capacity training for plants! We also need to view life this way. The weather, the winds and storms, even the weeds of life are there to grow us into our true identity. In the face of the wind of someones rudeness, can we be kind? When a hard rain comes of accusations and judgement will we grow in tenderheartedness? The realities around us are not perfect, there are storms and weeds and situations we would like to remove from our lives and yet must deal with. Those are the moments we can grow and allow our identity to rise up and we can manifest the truth of being a holy people.
How is your garden?