The Church is God’s flowerbed. In it are the dearly beloved, the chosen, the peculiar, God’s selection that showcases His glory. We are meant to bloom, to flourish with fragrant praise, to be distinctive. While many things are desirable in other places in life’s landscape, they may not belong in the Church and by default in individual Christians. That which is typical in the world has no place in what God has set apart as loveliness for Himself.
Just like there is a plethora of grass types, none of which are appropriate for the flowerbed, there are numerous kinds of behaviors, which are acceptable in the ordinary, non-Christian life, yet they need to be eliminated from among those God calls His chosen. Indifference. Gluttony. Stubborn will. Self-centeredness. Strife. Emotional rulership. Careless words. Immodesty. Lack of moderation in speech, dress, behavior, or temporal acquisitions. The world craves these things. Let the world have them; they don’t belong amid the hand-picked, special purchases of God.
If left unchecked, these spiritual grasses can have the same effect as weeds. They will grow alongside the good and rob the desirable of the nutrients necessary to sustain its life and beauty. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:12, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” Then, as if to stress the point, he repeated the message in 1 Corinthians 10:23, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” There are things we could easily discount since they aren’t marked with red flags in Scripture; however, if they are ignored, they can gain control of areas of our lives that need only God in charge of them. Instead of building up our faith, they tear it down and weaken our Christian walk.
While the flowerbed in front of my house temporarily suffered neglect, the rains of life and the busy demands of daily pace need not sabotage the beauty God intended for us to reflect. As the soil of the soul is moistened, whether through trouble, repentance, or the water of the Word, determination can be a swift yank that removes what has encroached in our hearts. Let’s be that “ chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;” (1 Peter 2:9) a flowerbed of beauty that displays only the preferences, purchased and planted by God.
Tip/Tidbit: What attitudes, behaviors, or choices might be sabotaging your godly example? In what ways do you feel that you best portray the beauty of God in your life?