In Debbie’s new home, she discovered an abandoned plant in a dark corner of the kitchen. The dusty and ragged leaves looked like those of a moth orchid, and she imagined how pretty the plant would look once it had sent up new bloom-bearing stems. She moved the pot into a spot by the window, cut off the dead leaves, and watered it thoroughly. She bought plant food and applied it to the roots. Week after week she inspected the plant, but no new shoots appeared. “I’ll give it another month,” she told her husband, “and if nothing has happened by then, out it goes.”
When decision day came, she could hardly believe her eyes. Two small stems were poking out from among the leaves! The plant she’d almost given up on was still alive.
Do you ever get discouraged by your apparent lack of spiritual growth? Perhaps you frequently lose your temper or enjoy that spicy piece of gossip you just can’t resist passing on. Or perhaps you get up too late to pray and read your Bible, in spite of resolving to set the alarm earlier.
Why not tell a trusted friend about the areas of your life in which you want to grow spiritually and ask that person to pray for and encourage you to be accountable? Be patient. You will grow as you allow the Holy Spirit to work in you.
Please give me patience, dear Lord, with myself and with others. Help me to cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He shapes my desires and helps me to grow.
Each small step of faith is a giant step of growth.
When the Scriptures were written, much of the culture was agrarian. Even the city-dwellers, like those who made up the church at Galatia, were familiar with the natural rhythm of planting, growth, and harvest. No doubt Paul’s encouragement to keep doing good had a ring of truth that modern and industrialized people might miss. The harvest takes hard work, investment, and time.