Sunday, April 23, 2017

How Does Your Garden Grow?: Part 1 - Bloom What You Planted

Matthew 7:16-20

"By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."

Christianity is useless without fruit.

The Bible is fond of metaphors featuring fruit and plants, from Psalm 17:8 to the above Matthew passage - and, coincidentally, so am I.

As a college student, I move around a lot - but every where I go throughout the year, my small houseplant travels with me. She has rested in the cupholders of many different cars and traveled through several different states; all because of how much I love to watch growth and life right on my very own windowsill.

I'm captured enough by the imagery that plants provide that I was inspired to write several blog posts based around Luke 8:1-15; The Parable of the Sower. Even though this parable is usually used to illustrate and inspire Christians to "scatter seed" over an unbelieving world, I was recently struck with the applications this passage has to those of us who are currently following Christ as we water and grow the seed that is planted in us. There are a lot of threats facing that seed, and its important that we are actively fighting those thorns and rocks that pop up in our lives. And so I invite you to journey with me for the next several weeks, through How Does Your Garden Grow? And here is how we're going to begin:

Christianity is useless without fruit.

The message of Christ is a seed. A potent and powerful one. Just like a giant tree can spring from a little acorn, the implications of the simple message of Christ are gigantic and vast. Once the small seed of salvation is planted, it has to potential to grow into a giant tree. And from that tree springs fruit. The great thing about fruit? It produces more seeds. And so the message spreads.

Fruit is what it's all about. As Christians, the words and actions that we produce are the greatest tribute to the seed that gave us our life. In looking at Luke 8, it is important to realize that our ultimate goal as followers of Christ should be growing into tall, strong, fruitful trees.

Throughout Luke 8 we'll be looking at various factors that threaten our growth. Fruit is Christianity in action; so it should be obvious that if the devil can keep that fruit from ever blooming, he'll have been very effective in making us unable to internalize and spread Christ's message, rendering us...useless.

We can't allow the devil to get any sort of foothold when it comes to keeping our fruit alive and thriving. We have to be on the offensive. Christianity is not a passive religion. It takes intentional action and monitoring of our lives.

A seed hides under the soil, but a colorful garden draws attention and brings beauty and life to everything near it. Luke 8 warns us of the dangers facing the seeds of truth and hope and influence in our lives, but being aware of these dangers can help us combat them. Take a walk through the garden with me?