I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried gardening, but it’s personally not my thing. I’ve learned, though, that the gardening process can teach you a lot. Growing up, I would spend every summer with my grandparents in West Texas. They had a huge garden they were really proud of and rightly so, have you ever tried to grow something in Texas heat?
When I spent summers in West Texas, I helped my grandpa take care of his garden. Usually when someone thinks about gardening, they think of the planting and the picking. While preparing the ground and planting the seeds were both important things, my grandpa taught me that was only the beginning. He would say that tending to a garden looks a lot like how we should tend to our hearts. Just like we protect the vegetables from weeds and insects, we have to protect our hearts from sin.
As a 12-year-old, I didn’t really care much about the metaphor. At the end of the day, I didn’t like pulling weeds, so I figured he was trying to give a boring task some meaning. But, as I look back at my life, that metaphor comes to mind often. I’ve realized that growth is intentional. Just like gardening, cultivating good things in our life doesn’t happen passively.
It takes intentionality to grow.
If you want to grow as a believer, the only way you can do that is by reading and applying Scripture to your life. The Bible outlines everything we need to live a life that brings glory to God. It allows us to know who God is and how we should live our lives.
Not only does God give us life through Jesus, but He has given us the instructions to live life well. Scripture teaches and corrects us (2 Tim. 3:16-17); guides our steps (Ps. 119:105); is a source of life (Mt. 4:4); shows God’s faithfulness (1 Cor. 1:9); shows us our sinfulness (Rom. 3:9-20); and ultimately, shows us a picture of Jesus (Col. 1:15-17).
In order to grow more like Jesus, you need guidance. When my grandpa planted his garden, he didn’t wing it. That would have been a lot of wasted time, money and effort. Instead, he learned how to be a gardener. The same idea applies to us as Christians. We are constantly learning how to live and be like Jesus. And that’s the gardening process. Every day we are in the process of being sanctified, becoming more like Jesus. This happens as we pull out the sin in our lives so that fruit can grow.
One of my favorite passages is Psalm 1- it’s a short but mighty chapter. It shows the difference between the righteous man and the wicked man. The psalmist shows how the ‘blessed man’ doesn’t take advice from the wicked, but instead ‘delights in the law of the Lord’.
To delight in the Word of the Lord is to find contentment in what we read in Scripture. Fostering a deep love for truth and finding complete satisfaction in the instructions of God doesn’t happen overnight. If you want to grow, you must be planted in the Word of God and take the time to truly meditate on the words of Scripture.
Growth is the result of being nourished by the life source of Scripture. When we meditate, learn, and study the truths of God, we’re growing in our Christlikeness.
As you step into this new year, commit to reading your Bible and understanding Scripture. Whether it’s through your church, a podcast, or weekly Bible study, start fostering a love for God’s Word. Just like those vegetables in my grandpa’s garden, your heart will experience growth unlike ever before.
“Healthy things grow; growing things change; change challenges us; challenges force us to trust God; trust leads to obedience; obedience makes us healthy; and healthy things grow!”