So, my question for everyone this morning is, “Exactly, how do you step up your faith?” The best illustration that I can come up with that has a visual is my front flower bed. This is what it looked like before I planted the flowers. Now, I haven’t planted things in years but with a great deal of faith in the Lord, I drug my friend Shawn over, dug up the mulch and ground cover, laid soil and dropped the flower seeds in the ground. Now if patience is your long suit then planting flowers from seed is the way for you to go. LOL! It takes approximately six weeks before the little green shoots that eventually become flowers start to slowly (and I do mean slowly) poke forth from the soil. And then there is the time period where you know you need to weed out all the bad things that will choke out the pretty flowers but at this point you aren’t really sure what needs to go, what should wait and what should stay; unless of course you have planted these before and know what they look like. 🙂 So with another step out in faith, you bravely wade in and start weeding, praying that when you are done, you have actually left some flowers in the ground. As they slowly grow, you tend to them: watering, more weeding and, in my case, a whole lot of praying. Having been so long since I planted anything, I figured this was my trial by fire…if they grew I was golden to start something else; if they never came up then I was going to hang up my gardening gloves and shovel and leave the planting to my sisters (who are much better than me at things like this).
It’s kind of like spiritual growth…you get saved (God plants the seed) and at first all you see is bare ground. God knows where you’ll end up eventually but you yourself haven’t a clue (and by the way, neither do others around you). So, you read the Word, attend a Bible believing church and try to stuff as much spiritual wisdom in your head and heart as possible because you are all fired up for Christ and you want to grow. Then comes the maintenance that happens before you see your first fruits. You water your heart, soul, mind and spirit and then sit back and wonder…”Where is that growth everyone talks about!?!” Your impatience mounts as you desire to serve Christ in ways that He hasn’t prepared you for as of yet. And then one day, you open the Word and you see some green! WooHoo! So you throw on your Armor and head out, ready to do battle for the Lord you love. Oh oh! You get tangled in the mire of the world as you try to witness for Christ; old sins trip you up or you find that it’s hard to do what Christ would do every second of every day. The pesky weeds have arrived right on schedule. You know you are on the right track (I mean, look at all the other Christians around you, right?) but when you look at others and not at Christ, you tend to fall into the trap that others have it all together. Surely they don’t struggle with gossip or quarreling and you just know in your heart of hearts that they pray 24/7 and have probably memorized the whole Bible by now.
I think that God intended weeds to separate the weak from the strong…flowers need to have a good root system and then God does provide the rest (water, sun and nutrients). But some flowers don’t grow a good root system due to bad seed, poor planting or just not the perfect conditions for that type of flower. We don’t always have a good root system either even though we have Christ as the basis for it. Think about it…work was hard so you skip church that weekend because you deserve to rest. Prayer meeting Wednesday night? Love to but I have to get up early the next day and you know I always get out late. Read the Bible every day by myself? I probably wouldn’t understand it all; it’s easier to wait for church so that the Pastor can explain it out for me. Now I’m not saying that everyone has had these thoughts but I will tell you, I have been saved as of tomorrow (July 31st) for 8 years and I can’t say that I’ve never had any of these thoughts in regard to my growth in Christ. We may be saved by the Blood of the Lamb but we still carry that flesh with us until the day we go to be with the Lord. That flesh my friend, is still strong especially if you give in to temptation and feed it from time to time. And there isn’t one of us that hasn’t done that.
We feel as if we wait soooooo loooong for the fruit to arrive. We look, we trim here and there…and sometimes, we pull the fruit instead of the weeds and then we are back to square one it feels like. However, our God is faithful and when we step up that faith and refuse to give up on Him and what He has promised, little by little, bit by bit, our walk with the Lord is strengthened and grown until we can look up and see the flowers just growing and popping up every place those seeds were planted by the Lord’s loving Hand.
The Lord gave us the facilities to think and reason along with free will to choose what to learn, how to learn and when and how to apply it to our lives. Everyone makes mistakes; it is what you do with what you learn from those mistakes that makes you victorious in Christ as you move forward. Now I’m not where I will be but I am not where I was – Thank the Good Lord for that!! So now, when I weary of what seems to be my never-ending fight with sin or my ability to change something for the better, I try to remember my front flower bed and how for the longest time, I thought there was absolutely NO growth going on but in all actuality, under the surface there was a lot going on…it just took a bit for it to show. 🙂
Are you like me…did you ever despair of showing any growth for God? Or, are you like plants that come from a nursery, ready to go in the ground already flowered and root-bound, thinking like Topsy, “You’ve done growed all ya gonna.”? If you have any advice for growing and flowering in Christ, please feel free to share…we are in this together and just like the maintenance I gave my flowers to help them grow, God gave us each other to edify and help maintain our flower plot that resides in our souls.
Till next time – Faithwalkin’ 🙂