By Jamie Harms
One year we joined our neighbors in an experiment. They had started a worm bin and had accumulated worm “tea” that they were going to add to their garden. We did not have a worm bin but planted our garden anyway. It became very obvious that there really was something to their worm “tea.” Our neighbors’ bushes produced more crops and looked better than anything that came out of our garden. Don’t get me wrong, we did enjoy veggies that year, but our neighbors’ produce was empirically better.
For several years since then, we have composted to help our garden grow. We have tried worm bins, compost piles, leaf mulch, and the chicken coop cleanup to name a few. With compost bins, we put in all the scraps that we have accumulated, and over time, the mixture becomes like black gold. When spread around our plants, the word that comes to mind is flourish.
Our application of God’s Word is much like compost. When we draw from all the “scraps” that we have learned from His Word and put it all together with a few guidelines, we end up with rich soil from which our lives can bear much fruit. Just like compost, there is a way to do it right and get black gold and a way to do it that damages your plants. If you don’t turn your pile, you end up with just leaves and moldy food scraps that don’t benefit your plants at all. You must turn your pile.
To turn the compost pile of your time in God’s Word, it starts with acknowledging His character. Only when we have a right view of our God does it give us a right view of ourselves. We then see that it is not under our own power but His that change happens in our hearts and minds. A simple model to keep application God-centered instead of self-centered is to use the gospel lens. After reading the passage for understanding, ask yourself the following simple questions:
- What does this passage teach me about God?
- How does this aspect of God’s character change my view of self?
- What should I do in response to this truth today?
It is easy to come up with our own sanctification plan of things that we want to change in our own lives, but we end up burning out or comparing ourselves to others, which is like moldy compost. It doesn’t cause the seeds of God’s truth to flourish in us. Thus, we need that right perspective of who our God is as our foundation to change our hearts and minds.
As I enjoy the beauty and bounty of my garden this year, I will praise my heavenly Father for the gift of His Word cultivated in my heart and the gift that through His Word I might know Him. It is my heart and prayer for you that you would do the same as our lives might bear good fruit for the display of His glory.
Find more from Rejoice: A Study of Philippians here.