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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 06/12/19

Rooted to Grow

meme-willis-grow2

STORY: Blackberry Patch

We explored the woods we owned behind the fence of our Kentucky home. Russ cleared out the brush to create various paths. One thing he didn’t weed out was the wild blackberry brambles. During the entire process we eagerly watched the blackberries mature and ripen. First, we saw the blossoms, then the fruit appeared, and finally the mature fruit was ready to be picked.

I noticed blackberries don’t all mature at the same rate. Some berries ripen slower than others. Some of the fruit were smaller than others. Worst of all, some fruit never ripened, but died on the vine before it ever matured into a plump juicy flavorful berry.

We evaluated all the variables and came to some conclusions. The berries in the sun ripened quicker and produced a better fruit. The berries choked by other weeds and plants dried up rather than ripened. And berries in the shade eventually ripened with smaller fruit, as long as there was the right amount of rain.

We experience Christian growth similar to these berries. We mature, based on circumstances being right. We need to be in the Son to mature into the best fruit, as designed by the Creator. Even in partial darkness (focus on self), with some Son the fruit will grow, but at a slower rate, and with an inferior finished product. Sadly, other Christians allow the cares of life to choke out their spiritual growth, much like the weeds overcame some of our wild berries by wrapping around the brambles and cutting the berries off from nourishment.

I want to grow into the best fruit. Not for reasons of pride, but because I want my Creator to be well pleased. By allowing the Son to shine fully into my life and ignoring my shady self-desire and the choking cares of the world, I will be able to present my mature fruit to the Harvester with great joy.

STUDY: From Seed to Fruit

"But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon." (Psalm 92:12 NLT)

  • If you have time, type in a search engine, Commentary Psalm 92:12 and research this verse. There is much richness and symbolism here for those seeking to be godly.
  • Why do you think the psalmist chose the palm tree and the cedars of Lebanon to illustrate what it’s like for the godly to flourish?
  • Palm trees are known for enduring heavy rains, driving winds, and arid droughts. How is endurance a godly trait? In what way do you need to grow in endurance?
  • What is significant about the cedars of Lebanon? These trees were considered signs of nobility. Their lumber was used for building significant regal structures, including the temple. How can you apply this illustration to pursuing a godly life?
  • We are encouraged to flourish in all places (palms grow in valleys, while cedars grow on mountains.). And we seek to flourish no matter the circumstances (both trees are evergreen, unchanging in the seasons). Where or when do you find it difficult to flourish?

"I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow." (1 Corinthians 3:6-7 NLT)

  • The Corinthians disputed which leader should get credit for their spiritual growth. What did Paul say to address this conflict?
  • Who shared their faith story with you, planting seeds leading to your ultimate faith in Christ?
  • Who came along and watered that seed in your life?
  • According to this passage, who caused the growth to happen? Not the leaders. Not you. God. So if it is God who causes growth to happen, what is our part in our spiritual development?
  • What are you doing to be part of the planting and watering process of introducing others to your Savior? And after they come to faith, what is your role in helping them grow? What are you actively doing to disciple (mentor) others in the faith?

"Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong." (Ephesians 3:17 NLT)

  • I love imagining Christ making his home in our hearts, don’t you? It’s like putting out the welcome mat to Jesus. He unpacks his bags to make the inner me his place of residence. How does this happen, according to this verse?
  • Have you made it an intention to grow deep roots? Where are you allowing your roots to grow? Have you established it in the soil of God’s love?
  • When you grow like this verse mentions, what is the benefit?
  • Why do you think it keeps you strong?

STEPS: Produce Healthy Fruit

Read these two passages and then establish the steps mentioned in them:

"We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better." (Colossians 1:9b-10 NLT)

"Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness." (Colossians 2:7 NLT)

  1. Seek. What to seek? Knowledge. God’s will. Spiritual wisdom. Understanding.
  2. Honor God. Let your life please the Lord.
  3. Produce fruit. Be a productive Christian, resulting in good fruit.
  4. Grow. How do you grow? By learning to know God better and better.
  5. Get rooted. Go deep with your growth, so you have good stability.
  6. Build up. Don’t just grow deep, but grow tall, built on a firm foundation.
  7. Grow strong. Where does your strength come from? In the truths you were taught.
  8. Overflow. When we’re growing Christians, what overflows from us? Thankfulness.

Copyright © 2019 Kathy Carlton Willis, used with permission.

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