Do you remember planting seeds for science class in elementary school? The classroom window was lined with hopeful little pots, waiting for green life to spring forth. There was always that smug girl whose plant shot up first and remained the biggest plant in the window. Then there was me, the girl with knee socks slumped around the ankles, pulling her little green stalk out of the dirt to see exactly what was going on under that soil!
Growth is almost always a subtle, hidden process. A tree’s growth is registered in its rings. The actual growing or adding of woody fiber happens quickly over a few months. The rest of the year is a slow solidification process of the green timber. Our spiritual life can feel the same way. God will bring bursts of revelation and insight or conviction and tenderness of heart. Big decisions leap forward and new directions and habits forge ahead. God is so close we can almost feel His smile on us. But He also brings seasons where we must press in. Weeks or months feel quiet and uneventful. We are solidifying our relationship with Him. To enjoy God’s presence is one thing; to be established in Him and manifesting His goodness daily, is another. Fruit ripens slowly with subtlety. It takes time to grow into His representation here on earth.
“I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Phil.1:6) I’m glad the Apostle Paul was so sure. I have to fight the compulsion to pull it all up from the roots, impatient to see what’s going on in the soil of my heart. Am I becoming more like Christ? Why does it seem so hard to change? These are the questions rumbling around in my head, but I remind myself a squash only requires months to grow while an oak tree needs years. Which do I want to be? I can take the fast and easy route which has an appearance of spiritual growth, or I can settle into the steady and certain process with Christ directing my steps.
What does spiritual growth look like for you in this season? Are you being called into greater levels of obedience and listening? My friend, be encouraged: God will finish what He has started in you. The Bible says it this way: “the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10) He’s got you! Partner with Him in every way that you know to do and then trust that He’s got you.
Many times, we strive and worry. We get into our flesh and work at religion. God will perfect what He started in you. He will confirm His work in you, strengthen it and establish you as His representation here on earth. Keep soaking up those nutrients in scripture, prayer, and God-encounters. Follow and obey Him. Let your roots go deep into Christ as His love blooms into new life.
*This blog was originally published in August 2020. After spending the last few days with a beautiful group of college kids at Kaleo PCB, I felt it was relevant to share again.
Does your spiritual life need nurturing? Get my book, Gracious Living, creating a culture of honor, love, and compassion anywhere books are sold. Sign up for the blog at www.MargaretAllen.org at the bottom of Mondays with Margaret.