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ScripturePaul wrote: So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time,    if we do not give up.(Gal. 5:9, NRSV)

Guarding the Gardens     My garden was really looking good. The temperatures and rainfall were ideal, and the seeds responded by sprouting and growing well. I put a fence around it, just over knee high, using a type  that promises to guard  against predatory rabbits.
     It turns out that the fence was false security.  The deer jumped over it, rabbits went through it, and groundhogs dug under it. Goodbye lettuce, adieu peas, farewell cabbage. Apparently they aren’t keen on chowing down on onions and horseradish, leaving those untouched, but that beautiful sweet corn, hip high by the 4th of July, became a disaster zone of  bare cobs and broken stalks.
    Fences won’t stop weeds, of course, so the usual variety of unwanted vegetation made its appearance. That, too, is part of gardening. Thistles made their annual visitation, thanks in part to immigration from the unmowed neighboring field. They are easy to pull, but I actually left some because of the service that they provided. Guardians of the goodies! Yes! Spinach. I did get several meals of spinach, because that was where I  let the thistles grow. I’m still pondering that lesson.
    In a sense, our entire lives are as a garden. We ‘plant’ many different things over the course of time. Just as the produce from my vegetable garden is true to the seed that I plant, so are the fruits from my spiritual ‘garden’ true to my lifestyle.
    More of Paul’s insight: “Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.”  (Gal. 5:7-9, NRSV)
    Should I expect weeds and animals to respect my long experience as a gardner, and not visit me? Of course not! They simply see my garden, or any garden, as a place to grow, or as a food source. Likewise, my Spiritual garden will be attacked by earthly impulses if  given the slightest chance. Works of the flesh!
    According to Paul, “the works of the flesh are obvious: Fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.(Gal. 5:21a)    
    Will I plant another garden? Certainly! I know now that my simple fence was not adequate to the task. Nor can I  be casual about my Spiritual fences, either. Like Paul, I desire to reap at the harvest. I will do what is right.

The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity faithfulness, gentleness and self control.(Galations 5:22-23, NRSV)        
        Grow for it!

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