“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:7-8 (NIV)
Christi and I received a package today in the mail. It was what we call a springtime experiment. Christi had the idea of using fake flowers for some of our flowerpots on the back deck. But before ordering the whole lot, she wisely ordered enough for one pot to see if we would like them. The package was big enough for what we thought would be a pleasant surprise and a lower water bill. However, when we opened the box, what we thought would be a bountiful bunch of pretty flowers was in reality a little bundle with just enough to cover a small pot on the front porch. They were pretty, but not nearly enough or worth the expense to purchase more. We decided that the plan to plant, water and grow was the best way to go.
When it comes to our spiritual growth, you cannot replace God’s method of planting, watering and growing. This is the spiritual process called discipleship and for it to take full effect, we need to commit to it. The Apostle Paul talks about it in 1 Corinthians 3:6 “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.” Paul started many churches with new believers he planted in the faith by them believing on Jesus. Other teachers like Apollos would help water the seeds of new believers by teaching them the ways of Jesus. Mixed with a life of prayer and gathering to learn, God supernaturally made them grow! This is how the early church changed the world. Because of their spiritual growth, they told others about what Jesus had done for them. This caused others to be planted in the faith and grow too.
If Christi and I went with the fake flowers, they may have been low maintenance, provided a lower water bill and even looked pretty throughout the summer. But there was one thing they could never do... reproduce! Spiritual growth causes us to reproduce.
When Christi and I plant the flowers on the deck, eventually they grow bigger, but they also produce more flowers. By mid-summer, the pot is full and beautiful. To get to the beauty and the multiplication is a process. You plant the flower in the dirt. That usually calls for Ibuprofen that night. Then you water and you water and you water. God provides the sun and the rain which can help with the water bill. But in time, real flowers grow and reproduce. Why? Because that is what they were created to do. With a little bit of love and care they stay that way through the season.
Spiritual growth takes a commitment from everyone in the Church family. This is why we do Life Groups, prayer meetings and at times spiritual growth studies. When you honor the sabbath by participating in services designed to help you grow, you will eventually see the effects of God growing you in the process. Your will see a difference in your marriage, your family and yourself. But you will also see it who you help bring to Jesus. Why? Because that is what God created us to do. Plant in Him, grow in Him and produce because of Him.
Don’t be a fake flower or tree for that matter. Find some spiritual dirt this summer, stay put, soak up the sun and rain of God’s Word and grow! You will change the world around you when you do.