This morning, I noticed the plant on my side table looked a little worse for wear. After watering it, I set it by the sink window to enjoy a bit of sunlight. A few hours later, the once-drooping leaves revitalized and the entire plant reached toward the sunlight streaming through the window. My plant longs for what is good for it, so it hungers for the light.
Observing my little plant’s eagerness for the sun, I began to reflect upon the hope of keeping a vibrant, healthy faith. How do we nurture a lifelong desire for spiritual growth? How do we thrive in a world that is often darkened with sin and parched by lack of true refreshment?
DELIGHT IN THE WORD
Psalm 1 uses the image of a tree planted by a stream of water to describe a man who delights in God’s Word. The tree yields fruit in season and does not fear the drought because it’s planted by an external stream. If we want a well-watered faith, we need God’s Word in our lives. Hearing the Word preached, reading it for ourselves, studying it carefully, and meditating on it day and night sustains our soul through life’s various seasons.
Without the nourishing effects of God’s Word, we quickly become dry, withered branches. In contrast, by abiding in Jesus through time in his Word, we bear much fruit.
OBEY GOD’S COMMANDS
Not only are we instructed to read and study God’s Word, we are commanded to do what he says. In Matthew 7, Jesus tells the story of two builders. He told his listeners that everyone who hears his words and obeys them will be like a man who built his house upon a rock. When the storm winds beat upon the house, the house continues to stand.
In contrast, the foolish man hears Jesus’s words and fails to do them. He is described as a man who builds his house upon the sand. Ultimately, his house will not withstand the storms of life. Obeying God is a vital part of walking by faith. As we live by his Word, we increasingly experience the reality that he means us good, not harm.
SEEK COMMUNITY IN THE CHURCH
Just as my plant needs both water and sunlight, we need both communion with God and community with one another. Paul uses the imagery of a body to describe the unity among believers. We need one another to function properly. I need the love, care, spiritual wisdom, correction, and encouragement that other believers provide within the church context. To attempt a life of faith apart from the church is like placing my plant in a dark room. It will quickly wither and die. We need the radiance of Christ that shines from other believers so we don’t lose heart.
The Spirit makes us alive and works in our lives through the Word, obedience, and the fellowship of the body. Just like my plant that reaches for the sun, may we actively turn our hearts toward Christ, finding nourishment and strength as we abide in him.
This article originally appeared in Tabletalk magazine.