“… and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” (Is 58:12)
The day after Bethany died I bought a plant to set next to her gravesite. We would always buy hanging plants in the beginning of May to try to make the entrance to our house beautiful and inviting. I bought an extra nice one to hang next to her gravesite to make it inviting for those to come. It would be her grave marker until we had one made. I didn’t know then, that I would be coming out to visit every morning to have my devotions. I bought a really nice, beautiful, full plant. It seemed expensive but that didn’t matter now. Perhaps, you saw pictures of it on my Facebook page. The flowers were white and lovely.
Now, I’m not a natural plant person. I don’t know how to take care of them and in the past, the plants around our house didn’t always flourish. Because of the busyness of life, we’d sometimes end up neglecting them and they’d dry out and we’d do our best to try to revive them. Eventually in late August we’d just give up the struggle.
So I determined that was not going to happen with this plant! I bought Miracle Grow and this plant was going to flourish! I watered that plant every morning with Miracle Grow. It was flourishing and lovely! I finally found my green thumb!
Two weeks later it died! I was heart broken. I spent so much time watering and nourishing that plant, and it still died- just like all the others. I must have gotten a defective box of Miracle Grow that was missing the Miracle stuff in it. So I was going to return it to the store and get a fresh box and as I picked up the box to put it in the bag to return it, I noticed the words, “Use very two weeks“. I reasoned, well if a little is good wouldn’t a lot be better? I called the “Help line” and asked them. They told me, “You overwatered your plant and burned it by using too much Miracle grow. Next time read the directions”. Why didn’t I think of that?
Apparently this was an important lesson for me to learn so God gave me another illustration. We have a pond out back. It used to be a gravel pit and they dug too deep and hit a spring and the pit filled up with water. Instant lakeshore! The pond has become an old fashioned swimming hole for us and it’s become a great place to invite people to if they want to experience what it’s like to be in a Norman Rockwell painting. Old fashioned fun!
Due to all the rain we’ve had, the aquifer that feeds the pond has overflowed causing the water to rise high. The water level has not only flooded onto the grass we planted next to the shore, but it’s risen up to the birch and fir trees we planted 15 years ago that were just beginning to reach maturity. And guess what happened? They all died from too much water! Too much of a good thing.
In the same way, I wonder if there could be such a thing as listening to too much of the preaching of God’s Word? Could we become so reliant on being fed by others preaching the Word of God to us that it could hamper our personal interaction and relationship with Jesus?
When Bethany and I came back to the USA from living in Europe and South America for 6 years, we were amazed at the abundance of the preaching and teaching of God’s Word in this country. It was delightfully overwhelming! Anytime of the day or night we could hear Christian sermons and teachings on the radio and TV stations.
We were being fed with rich truths from the Bible all day long. This was fantastic! Then we would go to seminars and conferences and listen to speaker after speaker feed us with delicious Truths from God’s Word. Soon we became accustomed and dependent on these outlets to feed our souls with Spiritual Truth. The problem was that our spiritual roots weren’t going down deep into the earth and personally drinking the Living Water directly from God.
It took awhile for us to discover that we were actually being overwatered with a spiritual Miracle Grow. We didn’t have to sink our roots deeply into God’s Word and have Jesus instruct us personally. We had become dependent on other people instructing us instead. We reasoned that we just didn’t have time in our busy lives, of raising children and going to work, to dig into God’s Word ourselves. “That’s way too much work and takes way too much time! Let someone else who is paid to do that sort of thing just tell us what they discovered, after all that’s their job.”
So, we were content with having someone else feed us like Dr. James Dobson, Chuck Swindol and Bill Gothard, to name a few. All we had to do was just lay back and drink the milk of the Word that others had discovered. Little did we know, that were dying on the vine just like the hanging plants I had overwatered. That was revealed to us when the big storms of life came.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with going to seminars or listening to sermons on the radio. But these are to be likened to when the river overflows its bank. In a dry season, the overflowing river is a blessing and is reviving for the trees, but if the waters do not recede in due time, the trees will die of too much of a good thing.
Like trees, it is critically important that we set down our own roots deeply into the soil of God’s Word and find our own water deep in the earth. This comes by meditating on God’s Word and letting God speak His rhema Word to us personally. It makes our roots strong, and when the storms of life blow, they will not be moved for their roots run deep.
When I have my morning devotions, I have certain devotional books I read. I start out with the Daily Light because that is strictly segments of God’s Word on the same topic. There is no commentary. Then I’ll read commentaries by Charles Spurgeon, Chaim Bentorah or others. It is so easy to slip into the habit of depending on these commentaries for my daily feeding. But it’s not until I begin to meditate on God’s Word in these themes does He begin to personally speak to me. These tools and commentaries are not my daily bread, but are sources of inspiration that direct me to God’s Word which I meditate on, and then God speaks to me. My goal is to hear God speaking directly to me.
James 1:22 says, “Be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” The Greek word for “doers” is “poietace” and it means “an author, producer, maker”.
Are you the author of the book that Christ is writing in your life, or are you just reading the novels of the lives of other people? Even though, it is wonderful to read inspiring stories of what God has other people, we must take care that these are not our only source of feeding. Listening to the wonderful testimonies of others are to be an inspiration for us to write our own life story of what God is doing and showing us.Then, we will become a conduit for Living Water to flow out of us so we can nourish others, “and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” (Is 58:12)
In Christ,- Bob