This summer has been glorious, warm, and filled with fresh produce. Our backyard garden yielded plenty of zucchini, yellow summer squash, carrots, green beans, broccoli, spinach and the sweetest corn. In addition, we've filled our freezer with raspberries and strawberries. Before I moved to the mid-west, I had never really had a garden (growing up in the arid southwest, it wasn't much of an option), so I had a lot of learning to do. We fertilize our garden plot in the fall (and sometimes spring), prune apple trees in the fall, till up soil each spring and plant our favorite veggies in nice straight rows. If it's a dry summer, we water the garden in the evenings and around the middle of July, we start picking, chopping and freezing the fruits of our labor. Often, there are jars of strawberry, raspberry or grape jam made along with our traditional fall applesauce making day. Someone peels, someone cooks up sauce, someone measures out ingredients, someone boils jars, someone mashes up the cooked sauce and we all help clean up the sticky floor at the end of a day of canning.
Whew! It's so much work to make all of these foods; why not just purchase them from the store? The labor of growing and preserving our own foods really does make them sweeter. I think no candy in the store can compare to the fresh sweetness of homemade strawberry jam.
When I feed on the fruits of my own labor, I appreciate and savor each juicy bite. I am eating wholesome food and I'm an active participant in every step in the process.
How does that translate to our spiritual walk? Are we fed a constant diet of "fast food," spiritually speaking? If short, cute snippets of God's word are all we ingest, we aren't having a balanced diet. Do we pretty much just "eat out" all the time? Is our spiritual growth dependent upon whatever the pastor is preaching or what we hear on the radio or read online?
Or are we digging into the word, getting our nails dirty, harvesting the power of repeated words, searching for deeper understanding, cutting apart paragraphs to find the juiciest truths?
2 Timothy 2:15 "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." We can all be workmen in our own spiritual garden of truth as we handle the word of God correctly.
The more we labor over God's word, studying it on our own, reading it as if it were candy from the store, the more we will grow spiritually.
Psalm 119:103 'How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"
In a world of constant communication, it can be easy to live of pre-digested, neatly packaged truth. But, if we want to be spiritually mature, deepening our faith, moving on to a new level, we must spend time studying God's word. In deep study, we dig up treasures in God's Word and feed on the meat of Scripture.
"But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." Hebrews 5:14
Let's dig in!
P.S. If you want to get started studying God's word, but aren't sure how to begin, just ask!