The Garden of Your Heart
"You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of the bones of the dead and every kind of impurity." Matthew 23:27
This past spring Dana and I decided to once again try our hand at a very small vegetable garden. We are by no means seasoned pros at this endeavor but every few years we go down this path of thinking how nice it would be to walk out our back door and gather dinner for the night (you know, the whole farm to table experience).
Well, Dana put together the structure of a raised garden bed (gifted to us by Corey and Kristen) and we had topsoil brought in to give our veggies a fresh start to their new life. We racked and weeded and fertilized the soil and planted each plant thoughtfully in its special spot and gave them each a good drink of water.
The tomato plants is what I want to focus on in this devotion. You see, there were three of them. Two better boys and one purple Cherokee. It didn't take long for tiny, green tomatoes to take the place of the yellow blooms that covered our plants. I was so excited to see them grow and turn their specific colors. It was a new sight each day we checked on our precious little garden.
It didn't take long for them to begin to change into their vibrant colors. The Cherokees were a beautiful deep red with a purple hue. I just knew they would have the most delicious flavor. When spotting a big, ripe beauty we would excitedly reach to pick it off the vine and realize it wasn't what it appeared to be. What looked to be this gorgeous, luscious fruit once touched was a thin skinned, mushy mess. Some of them were black on the bottom (called bottom rot) but I couldn't see it until I picked it off the vine. We were so deceived. Their outer appearance did not match their inside.
This experience got me to thinking about my spiritual life. Sometimes my heart is not proclaiming my true outward appearance. Like those tomatoes being a beautiful, vibrant color, large and shining in the afternoon sun was really rotting and blistered, puffy to the touch.
When I am set on spending time in God's Word and praying diligently and seeking Him for a closer walk, then find myself living my daily life being prideful, arrogant and selfish with my time and resources it doesn't quite match the discipleship life I intended. If my actions are rooted in performance rather than worship, I'm no more authentic than a purple Cherokee tomato hanging on a vine looking all pretty.
Jesus wasn't fooled by the pretenders in the synagogue. He even called them hypocrites at the very beginning of this verse. He harshly rebuked them with their religious law and did not see them as true disciples. The Pharisees knew the Torah like the back of their hand, went to the synagogue religiously, and prayed in public every chance they got, but those were empty acts not genuine worship.
In Christ, there's no need to pretend that I've got my act together. Jesus always wants the real me to come forward, regardless of my mindset or mission and allow Him to transform me from the inside out. He is in the transformation business. Let's let Him have His way in us.
I love you & He loves you more!
Lord, Thank You for a lesson from a veggie garden gone wrong. You will use anything to get Your Word across and for that I am grateful. Cleanse my heart of all deceitfulness and allow me to worship You through the transforming of my heart. In Jesus' name. Amen.