The very mention of those two words creates fear in the hearts of many of us who are homeowners with lots of grass, bushes and trees. I remember one year collecting 100 of those yard bags of leaves, promising myself I would find another way to dispose of them. As I gaze out upon my property, I think of how many football games I will have to miss while performing this rite of fall. Those leaves look so beautiful this time of year as they change colors, but so ugly as they lay dead on the ground.
If you apply these words to our lives, assuming that doing our personal yard work is a lot like bagging up a whole bunch of leaves and disposing of them, then the real fear will set in when we understand just how much work we have to do to clean up our proverbial yard. Part of getting emotionally healthy whether an addict or having experienced life changing circumstances, is understanding that God does not wave a magic wand to make all the leaves go away. Some things that we thought looked good on us in the past, now have to die and go for us to regroup and heal. There is only one way to get it done......yard work.
Paul says in Philippians "continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose." In other words, work it out to the finish, work out your spiritual growth and development on a continual basis, do the Yard Work through each season of life. But to me, the key words that hit home are "with fear and trembling.” It is not joyful to make amends for past bad behavior, to heal from a broken marriage, or to look back at a total path of destruction from addiction, but as we do this we have the assurance that it will all work out if we keep at it......."according to His good will and purpose."
God will transform a yard full of leaves into a beautiful lawn in season, when it is ready to mature, like Fall leads to Winter and Winter leads to Spring. Each season of life that we do yard work in leads to a beautiful conclusion in Summer. Fresh beautiful flowers, thriving green grass, and many growing trees. That is unless, we fail to do the yard work, in which case the grass turns brown and those flowers we planted that we failed to water never bloom.
It's definitely difficult to continue to work on ourselves as we do on our landscape, but it is vitally necessary to grow and feel the joy of God's promise to use us for His "good purpose.”As we do, we need to remember Jesus already paid the price for our salvation in heaven, we are just down here working to thrive and grow until we get there.
And we can't do it with a pile of leaves on top of us every day we wake up.
Ready for Yard Work,
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.