Scripture gives us many verses involving gardening, be it through stories, poems, songs, or even parables…
The Kingdom of Heaven has been likened to a garden in many respects; particularly in regard to the fruit it is to bring forth. We—as children of God—have been reminded that those who are righteous are well watered and flourish like healthy, strong plants. We have even been told that Gentile Believers have been grafted into the promise of our Jewish brothers and sisters. We have been told to bear good fruit…
So, why is this such a common theme? What does ‘Gardener God’ (see John 15:1) do?
- We know that God is our potter and we are the clay.
- We know that God is our fortress and we can find refuge in Him.
- We know that God is the Light and He drives away all darkness around us.
- We know that God is Creator and we are His creation.
On and on we could list the wonderful characteristics of who God is and how it relates to or impacts us, but let us look at God as gardener…
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.”
—John 15:1 (NKJV)
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.”
—John 15:1 (NIV)
Just by reading this one verse, we see that our Messiah is the true vine, and our Father God is the vinedresser or gardener. Certainly, this confirms that among the many wonderful names given to express who our Father God is, He also has the title of gardener. But while certainly He is the gardener or vinedresser to our Messiah, He is also that to us…
Continuing in John 15, verses 2-8 (NIV), Jesus says of the Father,
“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
“You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
As God fulfills His role as gardener, He has to do more than go to a garden center, buy a few plants, and replant them in His garden…
He has to grow all the plants in His care—be it from seed, grafting, cuttings, etc.
He has to give each plant the right base of soil, nutrients, drainage, and the like—which can vary dramatically from plant to plant.
He has to see that those who need direct sunlight are put in sunny areas of the garden, while those who need only partial sun, or even complete shade, find that too.
He has to water each to the level and frequency that they need.
He has to weed out what does not belong to allow His plants to thrive.
He has to shape, prune, and even train each plant according to its needs.
Each plant’s specific requirements are attended to by God… even when others, and the plants themselves, may not see this.
And on top of all this, sometimes God, as gardener, has to be firm with His plants. For instance, when a plant has been too long in the same pot and the roots are bound, a gardener may need to break or damage the outer roots to promote new, healthier growth. Or, in the case of pruning, sometimes a plant has to be cut back almost down to its roots if it is to achieve the best, highest, and fullest growth that it can…
These acts of gardening can certainly appear harsh—particularly to those who look at the short-term over the long—yet, when a gardener does this it is not only for the good of the plant, but also for the garden as a whole. For God, as gardener, it is the same principle.
When He prunes us back so far that we or those around us think it is unkind or even going to kill… He does it for our good. When He decides that it is time for us to shift from one area to another—taking us out of our ‘pot’ and planting us in bigger and better places—sometimes He has to break those roots that are holding us back from fullness, allowing new, better ones to form.
Our ‘Gardener God’ knows best. And in His care, we can be a beautiful, fruitful addition to His Kingdom; His garden.
Bearing Good Fruit
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.”
—John 15:16-17 (NIV; emphasis added)
We did not choose God, He chose us. He made us from a word; a desire. He loves us.
But as His chosen, His appointed, we are meant to bear good fruit. For He is our gardener, and those who are designed and grown by Him certainly should bear no less.
“But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.”
—Galatians 5:22-23 (TPT)
Love is certainly at the heart of all the good fruit we are to bear—and the Law and Commandments—but along with love, the Apostle Paul adds eight other qualities, giving us nine attributes of the fruit of the Spirit:
- Strength of Spirit/Self-Control
Each of these tells us what kind of fruit God expects from His garden—from us. And while in ourselves we may stumble in these, not bearing wholly perfect fruit… we have a perfect gardener who is able to help us reach our full potential.
In Him, we can bear good fruit!
Remember: our Messiah is the true vine, our Father God is our gardener, and when we allow both to work in our lives—with the Holy Spirit producing the good fruit in us—we are able to thrive! To prosper! And to actually ADD to the beauty and fullness of God’s garden—His Kingdom.
And what a lovely garden it is.
“We pray that you would walk in the ways of true righteousness, pleasing God in every good thing you do. Then you’ll become fruit-bearing branches, yielding to his life, and maturing in the rich experience of knowing God in his fullness! And we pray that you would be energized with all his explosive power from the realm of his magnificent glory, filling you with great hope.“Your hearts can soar with joyful gratitude when you think of how God made you worthy to receive the glorious inheritance freely given to us by living in the light. He has rescued us completely from the tyrannical rule of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom realm of his beloved Son. For in the Son all our sins are canceled and we have the release of redemption through his very blood.”
—Colossians 1:10-14 (TPT)