I’m curious. Do you prefer annuals or perennials for outside flowers? I’m a perennials girl myself although I do like it when Jay plants annuals in our hanging baskets and some pots outside around the house. Whichever you prefer, I’m willing to bet we all like seeing the new buds that are peaking up this time of year, the new green grass blades starting to grow, those flowering bushes blooming before they grow their leaves. Yes, I do realize that some really dislike this time of year due to their sinuses wanting to kill them with allergies but bear with me. On the whole, signs of new life in the spring bring a smile to many. This new life has become more meaningful to me. Here’s how.
There is this guy in the New Testament, named Nicodemus, who is part of a group called the Pharisees which were an influential leading group of Jews. I like this guy because I can see myself in him. He likes to learn and likes rules. He likes to ask questions. I wouldn’t be surprised to find him a fellow 1 on the enneagram. When Jesus comes along and starts saying things that stir his heart, he can’t help but want to ask more questions to try and understand what Jesus is saying. He sneaks off to find Jesus, not wanting to be seen in order to protect his reputation. Unlike most other Pharisees questioning Jesus, Nicodemus truly wants to understand and know God better.
He says, ” ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.’ Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.’ ” (John 3:2-3) This confuses Nicodemus and I don’t blame him. What is Jesus talking about? Over time and through living out my faith, I’ve come to see Jesus’ response to be, for me, like a description of spring in a garden.
My life of faith has been like a garden. Before truly believing in Christ and living as such, most of my garden was filled with annuals. I was trying to live my best life, depending more on myself than on Jesus. When times of winter came, parts of my life struggled and didn’t make it. Blooming again didn’t seem possible with just me at work. Yet I’d continue to replant and try again. However once I let Christ in, putting my trust and hope and faith in Him, my life garden was replanted with perennials. Winter still comes and growing stops. Life still provides its hurts, some self-made and some not. The difference is now when spring comes I ALWAYS find new growth popping up. You see, I experience the kingdom of God, the kingdom Jesus tells Nicodemus about, inside myself when I grow with Christ. I see the kingdom of God in the world around me when the truth of Christ permeates us, changes our soil, and enriches our gardens. What was once dead is now alive again. That, to me, is new life in Christ. We don’t have to be annuals, one and done, but rather perennials that continue to bloom year after year.
Easter, the resurrection of Christ, is a sign of new life for ALL of us. It can be a new life of believing before understanding, of having faith that He can and will work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28). Rejoice, friends! Spring has come!