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Plants, like all living organisms, have basic needs: a source of nutrition, water, air, favorable climate, and light. For most plants, these needs are summarized as light, air, water, and nutrients (known by the acronym LAWN). If a plant does not receive all of these, it will wither and die.

The spiritual life is a lot like growing a garden. To flourish and grow, we need LAWN. Jesus is the source of life.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5 (emphasis added)

Jesus provides the light, air, water and nutrients we need to grow and produce fruit.


Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 (emphasis added)


[Jesus said]… “The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit.” John 7:8 (emphasis added)


Jesus said to her, “Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14 (emphasis added)


Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.” John 6:35 (emphasis added)

We are creatures utterly depend on God for our existence. We are a people living in the darkness of sin and division. We need the light of Christ not only to survive but to thrive. We need to be fed on the body of Christ in order to flourish and grow. We also need to be fed on the Word of God. We need the Holy Spirit to lead us in all truth and understanding of God’s will. And when we receive the wellspring of living water, we are raised up from sin and death to eternal life with God in heaven.

God has a plan for each and every one of us. Satan also has a plan. He wants to destroy us. He wants to deny us access to the source of life, Jesus. And the tactic he uses to separate us from this source of life is to convince us that God is holding out on us, that He really doesn’t love us or care for us. He put this doubt in the hearts of our first parents in the Garden of Eden and he has been using this same tactic against us ever since. Like Adam and Eve, when we reject God, things do not go well. Instead of flourishing and growing, attached to the source of life, we wither and die. Like Adam and Eve, we reject our utter dependence on God and seek our own self-will through the sin of pride.

Blessed is the person who does not follow the advice of wicked people, take the path of sinners, or join the company of mockers. Rather, he delights in the teachings of the Lord and reflects on his teachings day and night. He is like a tree planted beside streams—a tree that produces fruit in season and whose leaves do not wither. He succeeds in everything he does. Psalm 1:1-3

Marriage is a lot like the spiritual life. If we tend to it, feeding, watering, and pulling up the weeds as they first appear, our marriage will flourish and grow. But if we, like Adam and Eve, seek our own self-wills at the expense of our spouse, our marriage will wither and die.

And the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your desire with good things, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. Isaiah 58:11

Apart from Jesus, we will not have a flourishing spiritual life or marriage. Feed on His Word daily through Scripture reading, prayer, and contemplating how to best care for your own spiritual and emotional health and that of your spouse and family.

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. John 15:5-6