Do you keep your yard well maintained in the summer? There are weeks the grass seems to grow like crazy because we have a lot of rain. Other weeks the yard seems to boycott the heat and dry conditions, refusing to grow. The best way we’ve managed to keep our yard looking nice is to mow it regularly. The consistent attention keeps it in shape.
Our shrubs are a different story. They only need trimming a few times a year. You’ll go months with them looking fine and then all of the sudden we have shoots coming out of the shrubs that look like corn growing. It’s as if they shot up overnight. During those times not only do we need to mow the yard, but we also have to set aside time to trim and shape the shrubs to keep them looking nice.
Our spiritual life is a lot like a yard. You have to pay attention to it regularly or it will get out of hand with things growing up you don’t want. When Jesus walked the earth, He spent regular time with His Father in prayer [Mark 1:35]. In John 5:19 Jesus told His disciples “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” The only way Jesus knew what the Father was doing was by communicating with Him regularly and the same is true of us. People like to wear the “What would Jesus do?” bracelets, yet we can’t know what Jesus is doing unless we’re in an intimate relationship with Him talking with Him on a regular basis.
There are also times when things tend to shoot up out of control in our lives that require a little more attention than a daily quiet time. This doesn’t always have to be something bad, but simply something that requires significant attention. You could be trying to decide where to go to college or what job to take, how to handle a problem in a relationship, or even how to take your spiritual walk deeper. Jesus demonstrated how we should handle these situations. They require designated time alone with God. In Mark 4:34 we see Jesus explaining secrets of His parables to His disciples when they were alone with Him. When we have time alone with the Lord, He reveals mysteries to us [Jeremiah 33:3]. When we’re wrestling with a decision, there are times we simply need to get alone with the Lord so He will tell us what we’re searching for and give us the direction He promises us in Proverbs 3:5-6.
In Matthew 26:36-45 Jesus had to face death on a cross so He took His friends with Him to pray through the situation until He reached complete and total surrender. Even though He had the disciples with Him, He knew He had to get totally alone with the Father to press through the battle to reach victory. It is great to have friends supporting us in prayer, but there are times we simply need to be alone on our face before the Lord until He answers us.
What do you need from the Lord today? Have you regularly taken time to care for your relationship with Him so you can hear Him clearly? Are there any unsightly areas of your life that need your focus and attention? John 15:1 tells us the Father is the Gardener. Seek His direction on what areas of your life need pruning, what needs weeding and what needs regular care. He’s eager to assist you so your life becomes a beautiful display of His love.