Genesis 1:11-12 New Living Translation (NLT)
11 Then God said, “Let the land sprout with vegetation—every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.” And that is what happened. 12 The land produced vegetation—all sorts of seed-bearing plants, and trees with seed-bearing fruit. Their seeds produced plants and trees of the same kind.And God saw that it was good.
From the beginning, God created plants to GROW ………bear fruit (feed) and bear seeds (multiply)
God created Humans to GROW, bear fruit and multiply…both physically and Spiritually
Genesis 1:27-28 NLT
27 So God created human beingsin his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 28 Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it…”
God’s mandate to grow was not only for Adam, but Noah, Abraham, Joseph and us as Jesus’ disciples
John 15:8 NLT
8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
To draw a parallel, you can have some plant growth and some growth in our relationship with God. (much of my adult life)
Different story altogether to have strong plant growth and a strong growth in our relationship with Jesus. (Now)
ABC’S of growing strong:
- Grow strong by Assessing
Spending time outside frequently looking at and touching the entire plant.
- How is the soil?
- How are the roots?
- How are the branches?
- How are the flowers?
Spending time frequently and intentionally looking at our entire spiritual life.
Submitting to the Holy Spirit and allowing him to evaluate our fruit.
Submitting to the body of Christ and allowing them to evaluate our fruit.
- How is our soil/soul? Is our heart hard and compacted or pliable, softened and submitted? Am I more interested in the rules, ritual, and being right or the relationship?
- How are our roots? Are they growing both DOWN and OUT? Are they deep and strong in God’s truth and grace?
Colossians 2:7 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.”
- What is the condition of our branches? Are we completely connected to Jesus, or just hanging on?
- What type of fruit is on display?
John 15:4-5 NLT
4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branchcannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches.Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.
For me – I’ve begun asking God to evaluate my heart and thoughts and letting others tend to my heart.
- Grow strong by Building
- Building in the 4 basic elements of air, water, sunlight and nutrients (fertilizer) ensures strong growth of the plant.
- Building in more time spent in the word, prayer, praise and fasting ensures strong spiritual growth in my life.
For me – I’ve begun trusting the Holy Spirit more, committing to reach to him before reaching for my phone, recommitting to studying the word and praying more.
- Grow strong by Cutting
- Cutting back (pruning) branches that already produce fruit ensures more growth
- Cutting off (dead, damaged and/or diseased) branches that don’t produce fruit ensures growth in other areas
- Cutting back areas in our life where there is SOME fruit ensures strong spiritual growth in my life
- Cutting off – areas in our life where there is NO fruit ensures strong spiritual growth in my life
For me – He’s begun cutting back my appetite for sports, alcohol, weather app, politics, electronics usage. He’s been cutting off branches associated with judgement toward the church, pride, the orphan spirit.
John 15:2 NLT
2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.
- Grow strong by Separating
- Removing debris like pinecones and leaves that prevent water, sun, and air from getting to the roots ensures more growth.
- Removing anything in our lives that prevents, stifles, suffocates, smothers, suppresses, chokes, or restrains the presence and manifestation of Jesus or the Holy Spirit.
For me – I’ve begun letting him remove the debris associated with religious, judgmental, orphan spirits.
Many church visions are foremost about numerical growth, while assuming each member is working on some spiritual growth. This produces a lot of immature trees (believers) that are ravaged by wind, rain, drought (struggles of life, marriage, parenting, work, ministry)…..
But we were created to GROW STRONG-as Jesus’ disciples-not grow churches. GOD is the one who adds to the numbers of HIS Church (Acts 2:47)- not man.
Are you ok with having some spiritual growth?
Are you desperate for deeper and stronger spiritual growth?
Are you willing to do whatever He requires to assess, build, cut, or separate?
Jeremiah 17:7-8 NLT
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”