I have been restless the past few days. During my morning quiet time, I have been anything but quiet. I’ve been like a Jack-in-the-box, popping up to do this or that, sitting back down for a few moments, only to pop up again and again. Stillness, especially on my backporch on early mornings, is usually not a problem.
During one of my pop-ups this morning, I clipped two blooms from my hydrangea bush. I admired the beauty of the deep, royal purple blooms against perfectly sculpted dark green leaves. I put the flowers in vases and brought one out on the porch and thought, perhaps, it would inspire me to be still. I had just sat down and was marveling at God’s handiwork when the thought struck me: the soil that the hydrangea is planted in directly influences the color of the bloom.
Just like the hydrangea, my soil will dictate what color - kind - of bloom I produce.
Well, ouch! I pondered the word picture and determined:
I must cultivate good soil. To do so, I must carefully choose where I plant myself. I need to be aware of negative influencers. I must be aware of the little things that I daily allow in my life, which at first appear non-threatening, but if they take root, will harm and destroy. As a follower of Christ, I must ensure my soil is well-watered in biblical truth.
Within the soil, a seed will sprout, establish roots and mature into a life-sustaining plant, which will then yield blooms. It is the bloom, not the green bush or soil underneath, this is visible and gets noticed.
Conviction falls and I question myself.
Does my bloom - my fruit - display mercy and grace? Does it reflect a kind and courteous attitude even in the midst of hard and difficult situations? Do I control my tongue or do I react in the moment and spew anger and hurtful words? Do I take opportunities to encourage those around me? Will I choose to look for the positive in all situations? Will I speak the truth in love, even when it is hard to do? Will I do the right thing because it is the right, not easier, thing to do? Am I willing to love my neighbor as myself? Am I willing to minister to and serve others, even when it is not convenient?
O Lord, it is my prayer that I will carefully tend to my soil and produce beautiful blooms that are effective in my circle of influence and pleasing to the You.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
~ Galatians 5:22-23