John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
As I was in prayer this week God began to show me a garden. It was scorched and dried up, choked by thorns and weeds. There was no green to be found, the leaves had all crumbled away and all that was left was dried twigs and branches. Then, there came a gust of wind and like a National Geographic time lapse video, leaves began to grow and flowers began to bud. Tiny shoots pushed their way up from the earth and grew into tall, strong plants. Fruit began to ripen on vines and the garden that was once dry and barren became bursting with life in just a matter of seconds.
We, as believers, are like a garden. We are meant to grow and bear spiritual fruit for the glory of God’s kingdom. (John 15:1-6) God promises us a harvest of blessing when we are faithful to Him. (Galatians 6:9) In order to be fruitful and bring a harvest there must be life in the garden. The garden that God showed me was dead at first. There are 2 key areas in this image of the dead garden that are important:
Lack of Water
In John 7:37-39 Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as “rivers of living water.”
Ephesians 5:26 says that we are cleansed through the washing of the water through the word of God.
Even the healthiest of plants cannot survive without water; when it is left with no source of water, it will shrivel and die. Regular watering is necessary to the life of the plant. A plant that is watered sporadically will eventually die if it is neglected. It may take longer than a plant that is receiving no water at all, but the end result is the same – lack of fruitfulness and failure to thrive. When we fail to water our hearts with the Holy Spirit and the truth we find in the Bible, we spiritually wither and dry up. The Bible says that we should be “watering” daily if we want to be fruitful as followers of Christ. (Joshua 1:8, Acts 6:4)
Weeds and Thorns
Jesus referred to weeds and thorns in his parables. In Matthew 13:3-8 He tells of a sower who plants seeds among thorns, which choke the plants and kill them. In Matthew 13:24-30 He talks about a man who had a wheat field. An enemy of the man came and planted tares, or weeds, amid the wheat to try to ruin the harvest.
We will encounter weeds in our lives – things that work against the purposes that God has set for us. Sometimes those weeds may be caused by circumstances or situations we face in our day-to-day lives. These are the common everyday weeds in the garden. Just as we overcome our circumstances through faith and obedience to God, our spiritual weeds are removed from the garden of our lives through faith and obedience. Our situations are capable of overwhelming us like weeds when we don’t allow God to prune them away through relying on His strength instead of our own.
Not only are there ordinary weeds that we face, the Bible says that we have an enemy that is seeking to destroy us (1 Peter 5:8.) We also encounter weeds in our lives that are deliberately planted by the enemy. The malicious potential in these attacks of the enemy are uprooted when we seek the Lord and walk in obedience to Him. (Leviticus 26:3) Our lives can only be a fruitful, healthy garden when we allow God to tend to us and remove the weeds that inevitably show up.
In the image of the garden that God showed me, the garden was not tended. It was completely dead. However, both of the conditions that led to that state were preventable. If we apply this to our own lives, this is great news! If we are diligent in the care of the garden of our lives, tending it as instructed by scripture, we will not only see life but experience fruitfulness. The fruit of the Spirit is evidence of a life surrendered to Christ. (Galatians 5:22-23)
But what if our garden is dead? What if we have dried up and are overwhelmed by the weeds that have stolen our strength? How does that wind that God showed me in the image of the garden come in to revive and resurrect it?
Resurrection and Life
God has given a word of life for you and that word is the mighty name of Jesus. In John 1:1-4 it refers to Jesus as “the Word” and says that in Him is life and that life is the light of all mankind. Jesus is the source of life. We access the life-giving power of Jesus through speaking His name. The Bible says that the power of life and death is in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21.) When we speak the name of Jesus, we tap into the source of life and allow him to work in us. The Bible promises that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:13, Joel 2:32)
Over and over throughout scripture, the power of the name of Jesus is demonstrated. Jesus declared Himself as “the resurrection and the life” in John 11:25. He demonstrated his power over life and death through the resurrection of Lazurus and in His own resurrection. Not only did Jesus perform miracles, He promised that his followers would be able to use the power of His name.
Mark 16:17-18 “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
When the garden is not watered and weeds creep in, there is decay and death, but the Word promises that when we apply the name of Jesus to our lives that nothing is impossible for us. (Matthew 19:6, Mark 10:27) The Holy Spirit is compared to a “mighty, rushing wind” in the Bible. (Acts2:2) Calling on the name of Jesus releases the power of the Holy Spirit to work in us and bring life and renewal.
Waking What is Sleeping
In John 11:1-44 Jesus tell his disciples that their friend Lazurus “has fallen asleep, but I am going there to wake him up.” The disciples thought Jesus was talking about natural sleep, but He corrected them saying that Lazurus was in fact, dead. By the time Jesus arrives at the tomb after meeting with Mary and Martha, Lazurus had been dead for 4 days. In the natural order of things, life at this point has long departed and it’s return is impossible, but Jesus called out to Lazurus by name and Lazurus rose from the tomb. Then, Jesus commanded, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
Sometimes we look at the garden of our life and all we see are dead things. Sin may have come to disconnect us from God. Lack of faith or submission to God may have cut us off from His power in our lives. There may be areas of failure, defeat and destruction that is evident in our lives, but Jesus is the ultimate power. We may be overcome by circumstances and spiritually dead, but the Bible says that the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in us. (Romans 8:11)
When we call on Jesus, His power is able to transform us and breathe life into that which is dead. In Isaiah 43:1 God says, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!” You, in particular, are important to God! The Bible says that He knows us by name and claims us as His own. Like Lazurus, He calls us individually, by name, to lay claim to us and breathe His life into us. Not only does He bring life, but when we are walking in submission to Him, He removes the grave clothes – the things that held us in bondage to that death state – and sets us free!
In Matthew 9:18-25, Jesus encounters a synagogue leader whose daughter had died. At the leader’s house there was a crowd of witnesses who could attest to the fact that she was dead, yet when Jesus arrived He said, “The girl is not dead, but asleep.” Remember, Jesus referred to the dead as sleeping because He holds power over death. The crowd laughed at Him, because they could see with their own eyes that she was dead, but then Jesus took the girl’s hand and she got up.
Something that God brought to my attention in the image of the garden was this; not only was life brought to the plants that were dead in the garden, but new life was created in the seeds that took root. Just like the crowd of people who were at the leader’s house perceived the death of the girl, there are areas in our lives that we may identify as dead. Continuing to believe in that particular area may seem pointless – after all, it is dead. People may even laugh at us for speaking words of faith in that area. Our response when we identify it as dead, is to bury it, to lay it to rest. Sometimes the things that we buried because we called them dead are in fact seeds that God wants to breathe life into!
Our garden may seem dead. We may feel neglected. We are not without hope! Begin applying the name of Jesus to your life! Whatever the situation is, God has power over it. It may be an area that we have been defeated in. It may be an addiction. Begin speaking the name of Jesus over your life and He will set you free! You may be facing a hopeless health issue. Your family may be struggling or your marriage at the brink of destruction. Speak life into that circumstance in the name of Jesus! You may feel purposeless, and given up on your hope and dreams. Call on the name of Jesus and He will birth new life into you and cause the dreams that He has set for you to come into being!
Sometimes tending to the garden is work. You may have to keep pouring water and pulling weeds. It may take time, but don’t grow weary in your labor, because God is faithful. He promises that there is life in the Word. The Word is living and alive in you and even that which is dead is not unreachable for Him. Even the impossible is possible through Him. His name is available for you to use and call upon. It is the Word of Life, and it is for you.