My neighbor recently gave me a thoughtful gift for my garden. She knew how much I loved “yard art.” And it was even lime green and pink–colors I’ve splashed throughout my back yard. But when I planted it in the ground beside my real flowers, God nudged my spirit. This would be more than just a metal decoration. That painted flower decor would remind me of another spiritual lesson–like so much of my garden does.
I love that God can speak to us anywhere, anytime He wants. Don’t you? Here are three reminders He gave me:
Three Ways to Grow Spiritually
1. Grow Up
Just like plants, we are to grow up: Grow to maturity (2 Corinthians 13:11). 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NLT) says, When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. In the message translation of Matthew 5:48, Jesus says, “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity.”
Tiny seedlings are cute, but they need the gardener’s touch with ample nutrients, sunshine, and water, or they’ll wither. Ephesians 4:14 (MSG) adds: God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. If we remain as babies, both in our childish actions and thoughts, and in our inability to feed ourselves with all God offers: the Water of Life, nutrients from His Word, and plenty of Son-shine, we’ll wither as well.
2. Grow Down
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). If the plants in my garden don’t develop strong roots, they’ll soon become weak and limp–especially in this Texas summer heat!
God reminds me that my roots must grow deeper in Him: deeper in faith (2 Corinthians 10:15, NLT), stronger in wisdom and understanding (Psalm 90:12; Proverbs 15:32; Psalm 92:12). I love what Colossians 2:7 adds: 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.
3. Grow Out
Philippians 1:9 (NLT) offers a prayer that growing down will result in something more: I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. That little painted flower can remind me that my garden is not entirely for my enjoyment. It can bring others pleasure, too, especially as we share with others from the vegetable portion.
My faith, my love for Jesus, is not just to bring me joy, but it is for sharing with others. And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows (1 Thessalonians 3:12, NLT).
So every time I walk out to my garden and see that lime green and pink flower and the word GROW, I’ll remember it’s more than just a piece of yard art–and more than a special gift from a thoughtful neighbor. It will be a reminder for me to grow up, to grow down, and to grow out–with a prayer that 1 John 4:17 (NLT) will become more of a reality:
And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect.
I want that, don’t you?
What lessons are God teaching you lately? (They don’t have to be from a garden!)