Every year she plants tulips in her garden and waits for them to bloom on her birthday. She was so disappointed this year because all of her tulips were eaten by the slugs that lived in the dirt.
One day while she was weeding her garden she saw a slug and pulled it out of the dirt knowing that it was the reason all of her beautiful tulips were dying. She started digging in the dirt looking for slugs, removing them one by one. All day she sat on her knees tediously extracting each slug that she saw.
My mother-in-law's hand was broken many years ago in a terrible car accident. She has metal plates in her hand, so you can imagine how difficult and painful this task was for her.
The next day she went to water her garden, but went in the house and forgot that she left the hose on. The hose is buried in the ground so that it irrigates the entire plot at the same time. Hours later she came out of the house to see that her entire tulip garden was flooded with water.
Floating on top of the water were hundreds of slugs that had died. She skimmed them all off with ease.
Isn't that exactly how our spiritual walk with God is? In our brokenness, we tediously and painfully try to dig all of our sinful slugs out of our lives. We think that if we could just study the word enough, pray enough, go to church enough, be 'good' enough that we could bear fruit in our lives.
The truth is, it is not our job to cultivate the fruit of the spirit. God gives us the Holy Spirit so that He can saturate our lives with living water bringing all of those uglies to the surface.
What a relief! We don't need to toil in the ground. We just need to ask God to come and fill us up....He takes care of the rest.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9