Luke 12:15b – Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in an abundance of his possessions. (NIV)
Matthew 7:15 – Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. (NIV)
Proverbs 21:23 – Watch your words and hold your tongue; you'll save yourself a lot of grief. (MSG)
Philippians 2:3-4 – Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. (NIV)
Living where I do in the north of British Columbia, Canada, makes gardening difficult. Our growing season is not only shorter, but also our soil often lacks the necessary nutrients for healthy plants. In addition, we live two hours away from a main centre where we can purchase good soil. Thus, we get it where we can and do the work necessary to make it suitable for the planting and growing tasks ahead.
This past year, we had a load of soil delivered by a local provider. The only problem was that it was very rocky, which has meant a lot of time and effort in regard to sifting the five-yard load by hand. We found an old fire pit cover which works well as a screen, but it can hold only two shovelfuls of dirt at a time. The work of shifting the screen, being very taxing on the back, slows the job down significantly. Nonetheless, we are, bit by bit, getting it accomplished, and the sifted soil is well worth the effort.
Similarly, in order for the Holy Spirit to produce healthy, mature spiritual growth within us, we need to be on the lookout for worldly rocks which need sifting from the gardens of our lives.
Today's Scriptures point out a few of these rocky issues that we must guard against. Greed, false teachings, inappropriate speech, selfishness, and arrogance abound in our world. If we are not watching and sifting carefully, by means of knowing and applying the words of Scripture to our hearts and minds, they can easily infiltrate our thoughts and actions.
So let us be diligent in regard to cultivating the Word of God within us, that it may act as a sieve, screening out the rocky, unwanted detriments to the good soil of our lives, which God intends for the planting of His righteousness.
Prayer: Father God, how wonderful it is that we live in a world where we can read and know and apply the words of Scripture to the gardens of our lives. Empower us to be diligent in this matter, never being lulled into false thinking that we know it all and have no need for the sifting power of Your Word within our hearts and minds daily. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Blest Are The Pure In Heart" (Lyrics)