Over the summer, I decided to start a mini garden. Groggily getting ready to plant in the early morning, I became confused when I saw how hard the soil was. How were the flimsy brown roots supposed to sink into the soil and thrive when the ground was so hard? My dad showed me how to till the ground and break the big hard dirt pieces into smaller pieces, and then we added some plant soil/fertilizer to make the ground soft enough to promote new growth. After the prep work was completed, the plants easily slipped down into the freshly-tilled and fertilized earth.
While I knew the basics of plant growth before this endeavor, I hadn’t thought about how much work had to be done to the dirt before we could plant the plants. When I think about planting things, I just assume that the earth is ready for the growth to happen, but it actually needed to be broken down and replenished before it was ready to cultivate growth. This is every bit as true of our own lives as it was of my mini garden. How often do we try to force ourselves to grow spiritually before we take stock of where we’re at and what we might need to promote and enable growth?
When we see plants springing up, we don’t think about the ground underneath those plants. How easy it is to forget that the soil didn’t start out ready; it started out brittle and ungiving. Only through breaking apart hard bits and adding in soft nourishment was the soil ready to sustain life. Similarly, how often do we expect our souls to be ready to receive before we’ve prepared them? Maybe we become frustrated at ourselves for not learning from a sermon, or perhaps we get agitated with our family during what was supposed to be a relaxed night before realizing that we didn’t allow God to prepare our hearts to learn and connect with others. Growth can’t take place in soil that’s brittle and hardened by excessive exposure to the sun, and it’s similarly hindered in a soul that’s hardened from excessive exposure to unhealthy expectations and lies.
In Colossians 2:19, Christ is beautifully described as “the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.” Let’s choose to lean on God instead of our own grit, and allow Him to prepare us to be able to receive and respond to His growth. Through receiving His grace, we can experience His beautiful growth—just like the stunning flowers popping up in my backyard.
What areas of your life are hungry for God’s grace as you prepare for God’s growth? Is there an area where you can slow down and ask God to uproot, till, and replenish your soul to prepare you for His new growth?