Friends, it is supposed to be a time to start planting and begin thinking of spring and renewed life. However, as my temperature gauge measures that it is 11 degrees outside those thoughts may need to take a back seat for another week or so. Whenever the temperature is warm enough and we begin planting and waiting for our flowers to form buds and our fruits and veggies to bear fruit we will consider it a major success to have a garden that is full of life and color. I personally would consider my garden/plants a huge failure if they failed to grow, did not produce fruit or flowers, and essentially did not move into becoming a full, mature plant.
My encouragement is for us to see our spiritual growth the same way. We are called not to remain small and immature, but we are called and instructed to bear fruit, fruit that will last. Here is how that process often looks like.
1) We don’t grow alone or without help.
Plants need water, sunlight, often times fertilizer, and to have weeds removed to grow properly. Human beings don’t grow alone or without help. There is a current movement where many people are claiming to be Christian without needing to go to church. Personally, I have some serious concerns about because everything I’ve witnessed and seen has borne evidence to the reality that we grow in very tangible ways when we are regularly connected to other believers.
It is true that individual meditation and solitude do bear spiritual fruit, but I firmly believe they need to be maintained in the proper balance. We need each other’s prayers, encouragement, wisdom, and accountability to help us in our faith journey.
2) Weed removal is crucial to having beautiful, mature plants.
Paul reminds the church of Galatia in Galatians that the flesh desires that which is contrary to the things of the spirit. We live in a world filled with both ideas, deeds, words, and actions that will build our spirit up and also tear it down. Maturity comes when we are able to know the difference. John Wesley used his Quadrilateral to help know the difference between things of the flesh and things of the Spirit. The Quadrilateral included looking at scripture, reason, tradition, and experience to see if the idea or action went against was from the flesh or the spirit. It is important to note that Wesley always included the Word of God at the center and as the foundation of the Quadrilateral.
This helped Wesley remove harmful ideas/thoughts that dampened his Spirit, and it also helped him become a wise mature Christian.
3) You grow best in good soil.
Soil that is rocky, filled with chemicals, and things not genuine to it will not produce good plants for the most part. The same thing is true for people for the most part, when we have friends, co-workers, or even family members that don’t build us up in the Lord it can be tough to grow in your faith. My advice would be to find a church, small group, or even a mentor that will pray with you, answer questions, and help you to grow in your faith. It is never too late to begin or to continue to grow we need to never stop learning. You will be immensely blessed when you find good people to help you grow.