I lived in Las Vegas for five years.  I like to garden but our yard space was limited so I grew tomatoes in some Earthboxes.  I discovered that there are good, better, and best ways to grow tomatoes in the desert.  And then there is also the entirely wrong way to grow tomatoes in the desert.  First of all you can’t just put them in the pot with some fertilizer and expect them to grow.  No.  The wind blows, the sun beats down, pests come along and the plants shrivel up in no time at all without producing much if any fruit.  After my first seasons disaster I checked out the gardening books at the library and found a book written by a lady who had learned how to grow tomatoes in the Las Vegas desert.  I used a lot of her suggestions and kept experimenting.  I finally discovered that when I protected them from the wind and the blazing afternoon sun AND chose tomato plants that had proven to do well in hot weather AND used the right combination of fertilizer AND played classical music for them AND sprayed them with diluted essential oils to prevent diseases and pests I could get a really good crop of tomatoes and my plants didn’t die til the summer was over.  Whew.  That was a lot of work but the summer I did all of the above mentioned things my plants produced like crazy.

Now in life we can choose good, better and best as well.  We can also choose the entirely wrong course of action.  I am not a proponent of righteousness by works, but I do believe that faith and works go together for the “best” God has planned for all of us.  If you break the New Testament down into it’s most simplistic elements of how to live the Christian life, you pretty much come up with this:

A. Love God with all your heart and do to everyone around you as you would have done to yourself.

B. Accomplish “A” by spending time in God’s presence through prayer and reading His Word and sharing what God gives you with everyone around you.

C. Rinse and repeat.

That may sound a little over simplified, and maybe it is…maybe, but it definitely isn’t easy.  But it pretty much gives us the path to finding the joy and peace that Jesus promised we would find if we follow Him.  Doing just part of the above equation doesn’t get us there.  Prayer is good, but tends to turn towards self if that’s all we ever really do.  Prayer and Bible reading is better, but if it’s all we do it’s like putting our light under a basket and the only person we shine for is ourselves.  Put those two together with sharing God’s gifts to us with those around us and Whammo!  It’s like all the pieces come together and we discover a life we may not have thought was possible.  Give it a try, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.   If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. I John 3:16-20