Gardening.

I was just working in my garden. Yes, I garden. Well, I try to garden; God is merciful to my effort.

I have struggled against slugs, mushrooms, and weeds this season. The slugs were fairly easy to defend against, and the weeds were no big deal. I got rid of the mushrooms and they came back again a few weeks later, only to be stifled by my heroics yet again. I was victorious! I was so proud of myself for working hard and getting rid of the stinkin’ things. I sighed with relief because I thought finally I could rest.

And then, the weeds came back…

Yessssssssssss…It was as if they knew I killed their buddies the mushrooms and came up with a plan to retaliate by multiplying and launching a garden-wide attack.

It’s SO much work! My mother was right, “Gardening is not for sissies.” Thanks, Mom. Anyway, it got me thinking about life as a Christian. When times get tough, we pray hard and study the Word, get super close with the Lord and try to listen for His voice to lead us. Then, when things get back to normal, we skate through thinking all is well. For some of us, that means our prayer life dwindles, reading the Word doesn’t seem as much a dire need, and our close relationship with God begins to subside.

The problem with this is two-fold.

First, we are setting ourselves up for massive attack when we don’t dig in during the times of peace. It is during this time of peace that we should be strengthening ourselves in the Word, keeping a watchful eye out in prayer, and fortifying ourselves through the Holy Spirit.

“He that dasheth in pieces is come up before thy face: keep the munition, watch the way, make thy loins strong, fortify thy power mightily.”

Nahum 2:1, KJV

To fortify means to strengthen with defensive works to protect against attack. Much like the Great Weeds Attack of 2019, if we aren’t careful to put on the full armor of God and dig in during peacetime, we will be utterly destroyed either by our own lusts (the lusts of the eyes, lusts of the flesh, and the pride of life) or by the enemy’s attack. He loves to prowl around ready to pounce. Watch out!

Second, our relationship with God should never hinge on our stress or problems. We can’t decide after a struggle that we don’t need Him anymore. We shouldn’t close the door on Him saying, “Hey thanks for coming, God. You really did me a solid there, but I’m gonna take it from here. K?” Uhh, no. Not only is that super rude, but it’s being lukewarm and He will not hesitate to spit us out.

As I stood there in my garden looking over the mess of weeds that were taking over, I realized God was telling me to watch out. If I become stagnant in this time of calm and blessing, something will inevitably take me out and it will be so much harder to come back from it than if I would just do the work now and dig in. You might be in the same boat.

I know it’s easy to rest after a struggle. I know how nice it is to sit back and breathe after stress has ripped you a new one, but that is the time to draw closer to God. That’s the time to get your armor adjusted and prepare for the next battle. Don’t wait to dig in and draw near to God until you’re under siege or defeated. Fortify now. Dig in now.

Prayer: Father, I’m sorry if I’ve been a lukewarm toward You, only using You for what You can do for me in my time of need. I want to be close to You in all seasons. Help me to keep strong and put on Your full armor so I’m able to withstand in the day of evil, and having done all, to stand. Teach me to do the work ahead of time so I’m not caught off guard. Thank You for being so merciful to me all my life. I love you, Amen.

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