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Learn it and Live it

If someone had told me years ago that in my sixties I would be living on a 115 acre working farm, actually farming, I would have told them they were out of their minds. Well here I am. Up every morning at 4 am taking care of animals and in the garden by 6 am. I must admit it is one of the most peaceful times of my day. God and I have some wonderful conversations at that time of the morning.

It is while in the garden that God gives me most of my blogs. There is so much to see and hear in the garden. You would be amazed. I am in the garden from 6-9 am. We are not talking small back yard garden, we are talking 1/16 of an acre.

While in the garden Sunday morning I thought about how much Vernon and I have learned in working a garden to produce food for a year. YouTube has become our best friend. Now I have had back yard gardens before. But never have I had a garden this size with so much produce. Learning when to water, how much sun, or very little sun each plant needs has been very interesting.

Vernon and I have had no problem asking for help from friends, neighbors and family. Here is an example of something we learned. We planted watermelon last year, my first time ever. Now when you hear the name watermelon you think water. So I watered and watered, and I killed my watermelon.I needed help, so I asked for some and I was told that watermelon did not need a lot of water at all. Young plants only needed an inch or two of water a week. And once they were at a good size I could forget about them. So this year my watermelons are beautiful.

You know I thought about what if I had not asked for help I would not have learned how to care for watermelons. We have applied the things we have learned about gardening to our garden. And the fruit of our labor has paid off. This year the garden looks like I know a little something about gardening. Thank you Lord for keeping us humble and willing to learn.

You can see a biblical application to this. As we open our hearts and learn who God is and how knowing Him can change our lives we should begin to see the fruit of that spirit. In order for spiritual growth to occur, you first need to make sure you possess a true spiritual life through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. "And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:11-12). When you believe in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit lives inside of you (John 14:16-17) and you are a new creation in Christ! 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" Your old nature, which is dominated by sin, is replaced with a new nature that is under the influence of God's Spirit (Romans 6-7). Spiritual growth can only occur in a person who knows the Lord Jesus Christ as his or her personal Savior.

Learning how to grow spiritually is a life-long journey which occurs as you read and apply God's Word to your life. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 teaches us, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." In order for spiritual growth to occur, we must be taught, rebuked, corrected, and trained by God's Word. Then we will be thoroughly equipped for every good work. This is the essence of spiritual growth.

Spiritual growth is a life-long process of manifesting the acts of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21) less and less and producing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) more and more. Notice that it is the Holy Spirit who produces the fruit in us. Yes, we must submit ourselves to the Spirit's leading, but it is the Spirit who produces the fruit of spiritual growth in our lives. What does spiritual growth look like? Galatians 5:22-23 has the answer, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." If you are becoming more loving, more joyful, more kind, more self-controlled, etc., then you can rest assured that spiritual growth is genuinely occurring in your life.

God works in different people in different ways. Some people grow rapidly, while others grow slowly, but steadily. Our focus should not be on comparing ourselves with others, but on comparing ourselves with God's Word. The Scriptures are the mirror to show us what we are like spiritually and to shine light on the areas that need to experience and learn spiritual growth. James 1:23-25 declares, "Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard and learned, but doing it - he will be blessed in what he does."

Just as my garden has flourished because I was willing to learn and apply so will our lives flourish in Christ as we continue to learn and live it.

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