The Farm Is a Salvation-Garden


But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.


It is tempting to launch immediately into a full exploration of each of the distinctive nine dimensions of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. From there I so easily drift into thoughts of how I need to grow these various qualities in my own life. I need to be more loving, joyful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. This leads to becoming self-critical and slowly shifts my attention to what I am not or where I am lacking or what I need to do to become better, stronger, more devoted. The outcome of this whole line of thinking can be brought down to a single word: The subtle seduction of striving. I know. That’s five words. The one word? Striving. 

Notice the text does not say, “But the fruit of my striving is . . .” Rather, it says . . . 

“But the fruit of the Spirit is . . .”

We must reorient our focus from the fruits to the roots. It is interesting how we call the fruits and vegetables section of the grocery store the “produce” section. Why? Because fruit is not produced. Fruit is borne. We have almost nothing to do with it. With all our advanced scientific discoveries and technological advances and genetic modification capabilities, we still couldn’t make a fruit or a vegetable in a million years. Far from our striving, the secret is in the source—who is the Holy Spirit. The beautiful borne outcome issues not from all our efforts at behavior management but from beholding the One in whom the Spirit dwells without measure: Jesus Christ. He reveals to us the fruit of the Spirit in his very personhood and relationships and he lives to do the same in and through our very personhood and relationships. 

As I am beginning this series, my impulse is to stretch the nine dimensions of the fruit of the Spirit over the nine weeks and systematically deal with them. I feel this agenda is already being pruned. Here’s what I hear the Father saying over us: “Just speak Jesus. Impart the Holy Spirit. Return to source and substance. Call forth longing. Receive fullness.” The fruit of the Spirit is the Spirit’s work, not ours. This is our Father’s garden, not ours. Hear James from Peterson’s Message translation of the Bible on this point:

In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life. (James 1:21)

Wow! Spend a few minutes savoring this word picture—your life and mine as a salvation-garden. What if this word could become our world? It actually can. Let’s meet in the “produce section” tomorrow. 


Almighty God, Maker of heaven and earth, our Father, thank you for being our gardener. You are the gardener of my heart and not just my heart but my mind, soul, strength, yes my whole body. You are the gardener of my home and family, of my friends and colleagues, my church and community. You are the gardener of my city and the country surrounding it. It is all yours—every square inch. Would you landscape it all with the Word? Would you make a salvation garden of it all. Start with me. Make a salvation-garden of my life. Holy Spirit, would you start by sowing this simple humility in me now. Praying in Jesus’s name, amen.


How do you relate to this notion of your life as a “salvation-garden”? What does “simple humility” mean to you in this context?

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

Subscribe to get this in your inbox daily

Share today's Wake-Up Call!


WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

8 Responses

  1. I perceive that by exhibiting the manifest fruit of the Spirit in our lives that we are fulfilling one of our primary callings, that is, to display the kingdom of God. “Simple humility “ in this context, in my opinion, means to have the same mindset as Christ, who being equal with God , emptied himself of his divine prerogatives and took on the form of a servant (kenosis).

  2. When I consider “simple humility” in terms of a “salvation-garden,” I imagine a plot covered with weeds and trash, soil filled with stones, dug in roots, and other impediments to the healthy growth of seeds. This image leads me back to the “Honest Humility” Jesus revealed to me these past few weeks as I studied the Holy Spirit’s revelations to you, J.D. My little plot of land is much better suited for a “salvation-garden” than it has ever been before, yet Honest Humility reveals much work yet to be done.

  3. Several months ago, God spoke clearly in my heart words that I didn’t want to hear: “Try less; trust more.” I’ve always been a person of great effort and persistence, so it is difficult to lay my energy down and to obey what I’ve been told. It’s an oxymoron. I find myself trying more to try less when in reality I’m called to die to myself instead of using my own abilities to strive for self-improvement. If I were truly humble, I wouldn’t stress out and mumble and think that my growth is all up to me. Instead, in simple humility, I’d let go, believe, trust, rely on, focus on, and surrender to God’s presence and power in my life. God wants me to let Him grow the fruit of the Spirit in me, not a spirit of self-reliance. Instead, my impatience choaks out the patience (and other eight dimensions of the fruit of the Spirit) that He wants to grow and develop in me. Lord, help me be Your spiritual garden, not my self-improvement factory.

    1. Good word.
      Internal spiritual warfare.
      Your testimony reminds us of the spiritual war we are all in.
      The war is over. Though we are on the winning side, the battles continue because the evil one is constant with his distractions.
      Thanks for sharing.
      Staying 💪’n Christ.

  4. Planted humility completely overtakes the weeds of self-motivation. Agape love, Holy Spirit love, is humility without reservation. The flesh sees humility as being weak. God says He is strong when we are weak. So the flesh again is lying to us. It will do what it can to survive instead of being crucified.
    Galatians 2:20
    “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
    Learning to become like the One.

  5. Q1 – it needs to be bulldozed and started over
    Q2 – take it quietly, submit to the hurt of bulldozing, the plowing of the ground and revealing the brush in my heart to be burned in order to create the waterways for God’s love to flow through. I was a farm kid too

  6. As I sit here, ruminating on what I have just read and what has just been revealed, I keep circling with this: How can I….
    Each time there is a revelation or the Word for me, I start with this question: how can I love more like Jesus? How can I be more humble? How can I live out the gospel? Well, you get the picture. Then I chide myself and say, it is not I, but God and I read God’s Word or read your writings that speak and awaken me to deeper understanding. The description of my life being a garden and God as my gardener, speaks to me as does the idea that the fruit of the Spirit is the Spirit’s work not mine. This brings peace and assurance and truth and I know its the path I want to live. But the circling continues and I end up where I started–how can I live by the Spirit? I am not sure I am making much sense here, but it does seem to be a cycle I go through: How can I–it’s not me–be inspired and encourage by the Word or the teaching of others–but how can I?

    1. You are making complete sense to me Kimberly.
      As I understand it we can only produce these fruits through the Holy Spirit. And we can only receive the Holy Spirit’s power if we relinquish the idea of having the ability to produce fruits according to the Spirit from our own striving or efforts. On our own we are just sinners trying to cast out sin, in which we inevitably fail. This makes us frustrated and angry, and even ful of hate for ourselves and often others.
      So like you I tell myself, ok stop striving, just relinquish. But how do I do that? I know! I’ll put more effort into it. I’ll striving harder to stop striving. Sigh!
      But really…. How do I do that!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *