Come into or be in full beauty or health; flourish.
Hello spring! The time of year where whats dead comes back to life, roll on longer days and warmer temperatures (yay). This is also time of year we see the re-emergence of plants and flowers, known for their beauty, they captivate with their bold and bright colours, pretty petals, sweet fruits and strong aroma. These significant features of a plant/flower are indicators that it is in a healthy state. In a similar way as we know how to identify a healthy plant, we should be able to identify healthy spiritual growth in our lives and this should be our constant aim. Interestingly looking at the key stages of a plants cycle can teach us a few things about our own faith journey.
A strong faith life needs to have strong roots. When a seed is first planted in the soil, its mission is grow downwards rather than upwards. Its priority is to gain a strong root system, only when a seed has been deeply rooted in the soil it can grow upwards. A strong and deep root system is vital for the health and vitality of a plant as it absorbs water and minerals. A lack of nutrients and sufficient water in turn weaken the plant, making it more susceptible to disease or damage by insects. The root system also anchors the plant so it is not easily shaken by strong winds and rain or other extreme weather conditions. A well functioning root system also allows the plant to store up food for future use. In the parable of the sower Jesus spoke of the importance of a seed being planted in fertile soil in order to grow deep roots:
Matthew 13:3 Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!
Taking reference from both the parable and a plant it is clear that without a firm root foundation in Christ, we will die or not be able to withstand when hard times come!
When the root system is established the plant begins to grow upwards, in this stage we start to see key characteristics of the plant such as the stem and leaves. Sunlight, water and fresh air are very important for the plant at this stage. If there is not enough of each element then the plant will become weak and may not be able to bloom to the best of it’s potential.
Once we have built a solid faith foundation growth is expected. Spiritual growth comes by constantly feeding and watering ourselves in the word of God. Watching sermons, reading books and liking social media post aren’t sufficient enough to fuel our growth, they are crumbs. Real meat comes from investing in reading the Bible in our own time. Sunflowers follow the sun in order to stay strong, we too should be focused on the Son, then we will be able to radiate his light!
2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could.
This is the most beautiful and significant part of a plant/flower’s cycle, imagine an Orange tree with no Oranges or a Rose with no petals, it just doesn’t work! The fruit on a plant is a symbol that the plant is in good health and there has been a great progress from when it was just a seed.
Once we have grown in our walk we will start to produce the kind of fruit which is a result of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22 says they are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Jesus says the only way we continue to bear fruit is by abiding in him.
John 15:1-8 I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Stay connected to the source
Have you received a bunch of flowers? Nicely groomed each looked beautiful but lacked individual character because they were manipulated to appear identical. As nice as they are, they only last for a few days because they are plucked from the root, the source of their strength and nutrients. They are destined for the bin! I believe that God appreciates the wild flowers of this world, each one unique but most importantly they are still connected to the source that is the only way we can flourish.