I am not much of a gardener. But I so like to garden, to watch things grow. I’m not even a good gardener, at all, yet I remain fascinated by the entire growth process.
In reading a verse the other day, the means of growth and what grows in our lives, seemed to leap out at me …
Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more. (1 Thessalonians 4:1, NLT)
We are never to stop growing. There is a word to describe a lack of growth – stagnant.
Stagnant – when there is a lack of development or a progressive movement. When I think of stagnant, water immediately comes to mind and it is not a pleasant picture at all. Stagnant water is often characterized by a foul smell, polluted to a degree, lifeless. One would not be able to receive any refreshment from stagnant water.
The group of people, whom Paul was addressing in this letter, were already living in the way they should. Yet he encourages them to do so “even more”. He is pushing them to continue to develop and grow in increasing increments.
In order for growth to happen, we must tend to the soil of our hearts. In one of His parables, Jesus tells of four different types of seed planting:
- Along the path. The Word is heard but is immediately taken away.
- Along the rocky places. The Word is heard but there are no roots.
- Among the thorns. The Word is heard but is crowded out by the worries in life.
- On good soil. The Word is heard, accepted and tended to, producing good things.
At various times in my life, my heart has been like each one of these. My heart has been empty or rootless or crowded out. But my heart has also discovered the joy of being tended to and producing fruit.
Here’s the deal – our lives will grow something. It all depends on the care we give to our hearts. We each will choose, intentionally or not, what our lives will grow.
So what are we to do?
Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love.
Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord,
that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.Â (Hosea 10:12, NLT)
Be sure and tend to your heart. Much the way a garden is diligently watered and weeds are uprooted and the soil is loosened, our lives need cultivating, “even more”.