Hi friend! Welcome to episode 12 of Tending Your Soul Podcast. I’m Mariel and I’m so glad you are joining me today in this space. I often meet with the Lord in my little backyard salsa garden. It’s a small fenced in space in the far side of my yard here on the coast. My husband built it for me the spring after we moved into this house because he knows my love for salsa, and this space helps me find stillness and refreshment.
It’s summer in my neck of the woods as I record this, and in my area summer means HOT! so my garden is desperate for water daily.
This demands that my morning summer routine includes time in the garden watering it before the sun beats down on it all day. But it constantly reminds me of how my own heart is desperate for DAILY, consistent and continual time with the Lord. His Word offers the refreshment my heart needs and just like it takes time to let the water soak into the roots of my tomato plants, it takes time to be intentional about leaning into God’s Word.
So as we take these few moments today in the garden to let God water our soul, let’s invite Him to do what only He can do in our hearts and using my TEND method we begin with T for taking time to pray.
Father, you are the gardener of our soul and you bring forth good fruit from hearts that are inclined towards you. Would you speak now through your Word and refresh our dry and weary souls as only you can? Amen.
Under the guidance of my TEND method, we move from Take time to pray to E for examine the Scripture. And as we are slowly and intentionally moving through the book of James, we find ourselves in the next 2 verses today, James 1:12-13.
So let’s examine these 2 verses word for word and allow God to press the seed of His Word into our heart.
James 1:12-13 says:
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.
When I first came to know the Lord in my early 20s, I came from an atheist belief and very unchurched background. This has made me especially curious of what many people refer to as “Christianese” which is referring to words that church people use that have often been so overused or misused that they have lost their true meaning.
The word “blessed” is one such word.
What is also interesting to me is that words that are so seemingly plain in the English language (like blessed or love or even patience) are often multifaceted and descriptive in the original biblical languages.
In the original language that James was written in, there are actually a couple words that can be translated “Blessed” in English. The word here that James chose to use is the word “makurios” and it carried the meaning of being happy and even to be envied. If we plug that definition back into the verse we see that God through James is saying here that the one who remains steadfast under trial will be happy and even envied!
That is an incredible redemption to a trial isn’t it?
In examining these 2 verses, I also find it interesting that James urges the reader about what NOT to say. “let no one say when he is tempted…”
Isn’t it easy to spout our feelings when we are tempted or in a trial? I can lean towards cynical, often to try to protect myself. And it’s in trials, of various kinds, small trials or big trials, where I can tend to just say words to myself and to others that aren’t truth, kindness or encouragement.
James is warning against this.
So as we move through the acronym of TEND, we come to N which is for notice the lesson. What is this teaching about God and what is this teaching us about ourselves?
We can see in verse 12 that the character of God is that he promises that the one who endures will be blessed. God has promised the crown of life to those who love him. There is happiness on the other side of this, there is hope.
God promises there is always hope.
We also see that this is teaching us that God is not tempted and God is not the one tempting us. We will see in the next 2 verses that we will TEND through in our next episode what the source of our temptation is. But it is not God.
So If God is not ever tempted that means then that He cannot be lured into darkness or evil. He will never sin against you. He will never do wrong to you. He will always act in love for you and me, regardless how it feels for us in the moment in our limited perspective.
Another lesson we see here is, as I mentioned, the reminder James offers for us to not speak out of our perspective or feeling when we are in a trial or being tempted. We are to remind our soul and others of truth rather than speak from the overflow of our cynical heart.
So as we move to D for Doing what it says, we can turn that lesson into a question and ask ourselves, What am I saying that isn’t true or isn’t from God’s perspective? I can also ask myself then, HOW can I see from God’s perspective rather than letting my emotions dictate my words?
For me, it is helpful to TEND through verses every day in order to continually refresh my soul with truth. I can’t miss a day of watering my tomato plants in the summer, lest they start to shrivel. In a similar way, I can’t miss much time apart from the Word of God, lest I begin to let my soul dry up. And from a dried up soul comes words and actions of bitterness, anger, and discontent. But when I allow God to tend the soil of my heart on a consistent basis, then He will bring forth fruit, in and out of season by His grace and goodness.
What about you, friend? What are the words you are saying revealing about what is in your heart these days? And How can you slow down and turn to see from God’s perspective instead?
In Matthew 12:34 Jesus reminds us that it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.
So what is in your heart? If our words are words of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, then likely we are overflowing from a heart sown in truth. But if not, then let’s ask God to help us today to lean into His word with consistency and allow the Gardener to tend to us as only He can.
OH sweet gardener of my soul, would you come and tend to the places that need tending, the places that need refreshment and a renewed sense of truth and stability in you? It is in your life giving name, I pray. Amen.
If you desire greater intimacy with God, friend, I want to invite you to go to my website Marieldavenport.com and download the free guide, Tools for Tending your Soul. It is a simple guide to help you cultivate a deeper walk with Jesus through His Word.
Also if you desire to keep tending your soul throughout the week, You may want to get your own copy of the Tending by the Word Journal available now on Amazon.
And until next time, keep tending your soul by the Word.