Summer garden full of colourful flowers and flying butterflies shows us how to flourish.

How to Flourish: Abiding in the Living Vine 

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I have a confession. Even though I’m a chaplain, sometimes my spiritual life seems fruitless. I let worry or anxiety deprive me of joy and sleep, I neglect quality time meditating on God’s Word, and I cling to grievances that need forgiving. When my “spiritual garden” isn’t producing much (or good) fruit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control—I know it needs tending. In John 15, when Jesus describes God as the gardener, Himself as the life-giving vine, and His followers as branches who must abide—remain, live, or dwell—in Him and in His love, He’s telling us how to flourish. 

How Does Your (Spiritual) Garden Grow? 

To be healthy and vigorous, our spiritual gardens need consistent attention. Here are seven ways to keep your spiritual garden flourishing. 

Nourish the Soil 

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

A vibrant garden requires good soil preparation, regular watering, and proper plant food. As the living vine, Jesus is the source of our nourishment. To flourish, we need to feed ourselves daily on His Word—the bread and water of life.  

Pray, and Wait 

Philippians 4:6 (ESV): “…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Gardeners plant, feed, water, and then wait and hope. We experience seasons of waiting, and prayer gives us hope and direction in the wait. God wants us to pray—about everything. He tells us to cast—literally fling—our cares on Him—because He has the power to do what we can’t. Thanking Him for hearing and moving on our behalf changes our attitudes and reminds us that God will work in His perfect time and plan. We mustn’t fret about outcomes because His ways are always trustworthy and good. 

Maintain a Circle of Friends 

John 15:15 (ESV): “…I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”

God didn’t intend us to journey alone in our faith. Growth occurs through deep fellowship with believing friends who worship, celebrate, and cry with us, and support us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Jesus had His special twelve, and inner circle of three. He called them friends. 

Be a Vigorous Weed-Puller 

1 John 1:9 (ESV): “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

A weed-infested garden is unsightly and unhealthy. Self-reflection, prayer, and a friend’s honest assessment can uncover and uproot spiritual weeds hindering our flourishing, or abiding, in the Living Vine. 

A woman's hands plants flowers in a backyard flower bed as she learns how to flourish.

Lean Into the Pruning 

John 15:1-2 (ESV): “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”

God is the Master Gardener, and His precise pruning—while often painful—is necessary. His expert hand removes energy-sapping stumbling blocks and shapes us into beautiful, flourishing specimens. 

Enjoy True Rest 

Matthew 11:28 (ESV): “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Life is hard; it depletes us physically and spiritually. Yet even in the midst of physical exhaustion, Christ—the Creator and Lord of the Sabbath—provides true Sabbath rest for our souls. Abiding in Him—rejoicing in our redemption and future hope, the Final Sabbath—gives us rest in a restless, overworked world. 

Never Give Up 

1 Corinthians 13:7 (ESV): “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

When we abide in Jesus, we live in His love. And that unwavering, unconditional love remains steadfast through our flourishing, and our sparse seasons. Likewise, our love should never stop bearing, believing, hoping, or enduring.   

Listen now to this short daily devotional from Abide meditation based on John 15:1 and 4. Let God speak to your heart about how to flourish in Him.

Tending your spiritual garden transforms you into a beautiful, fragrant reflection of the Living Vine’s active presence in your life. May His life flow through you so you can bear His fruit in the world. 

Let Abide help you learn how to flourish. Our 1500+ biblical meditations all exist to help you dig your roots deep into God. Download the app and start a premium subscription. This will give you access to our entire library of content. Use this link for 25% off. 

Andrea is an ordained senior chaplain who specializes in grief and loves encouraging others through Bible teaching, writing, and hospitality. 

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