How Does YOUR Garden Grow?
"The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." Isaiah 58:11
In this sun-scorched land, I've been harvesting tomatoes and lettuce from my garden. Yum! I planted cucumber seeds, but I have squash instead. (Don't ask!) I also have an accidental pumpkin patch where I left my Halloween pumpkin in the garden for compost. It seems the squash family is particularly fertile.
But today, I'd like to talk about the gardens of our souls .
What we are feeding our souls?
Sweet, vine-ripened tomatoes and leafy lettuce?
Crunchy carrots, tangy turnips, hot jalapenos, or cool cucumbers?
Like the many different vegetables in our gardens, there are many different teachings in our churches.
WHY are there so many doctrines and denominations within the Christian church?
This question has been on my mind since childhood. I grew up in a judgmental environment both at church and at home that strongly criticized others as being "wrong". Frankly, this upbringing created a judgmental tendency in ME that I fight to this day.
This self-righteous attitude always makes me wonder:
How do we know that we're right and they're wrong?
Who knows the exact, correct interpretation of the Bible?
And more importantly:
What does God say about these differences?
I'm no Bible scholar or theologian, but I am a deep thinker and I do study the Bible. God gave me a mind of my own, and I use it. I hope you do too!
So, here are my thoughts.
God is perfect. (Psalm 18:30)
No human being is perfect. (Ecclesiastes 7:20)
Therefore, no group of human beings (or church) is perfect. (1 Corinthians 3:1)
God created the church to be a unified family of believers. (Ephesians 4:2-3)
The church is to teach God's Word, the Bible. (2 Timothy 4:2)
The Bible is God's holy and infallible Word -- absolute truth. (John 17:17)
God's truth is too complex and infinite for human minds to fully fathom. (Romans 11:33)
God loves ALL of His children -- despite our flaws and mistakes. (Romans 5:8)
God sees our HEARTS and knows our motives. (1 Samuel 16:7)
God desires harmony among his children. (I Corinthians 1:10)
PLEASE SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS.
What makes YOUR garden grow?
Since humans have so many different backgrounds, experiences, and proclivities, different biblical interpretations resonate with different people.
What speaks to YOUR heart and fosters growth in the fruits of the Spirit?
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22-23
While the Bible is ABSOLUTE TRUTH, and while we can trust God to reveal His word to us, our limited human minds will never perfectly comprehend. Only God knows the exact meanings in His perfect Word. (2 Peter 1:20-21)
Do you believe God's Word is timeless, active, and applies in all circumstances?
God can and does use His people to accomplish His purposes. Our God is alive and working in our lives, our churches, and our world. (Philippians 2:13)
"But Jesus replied, 'My Father is always working, and so am I.'"John 5:17
Since NONE OF US has it perfectly right, it is GOD'S responsibility to judge others' motives, not ours. (Matthew 7:1-5)
"But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached." Philippians 1:18
Is it ever our responsibility to judge? Yes, within our own church. If another believer sins, we are called to speak to that person in love. (Matthew 18:15-17)
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11
For those outside the church, let God be the judge. (1 Corinthians 5:12-13)
We are called to live in harmony. We don't have to agree on every point, but we do need to respect one another. (1 Corinthians 14:33)
Remember, a house (or a church) divided cannot stand. (Matthew 12:25)
Let's not allow Satan to divide and conquer.
Let's stand together in Christ and let Him work in us, in His church, and in His kingdom.
God is alive and active. God is in control!
"For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations." Isaiah 61:11
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