Friday, December 28, 2012

Spiritual Growth

"Apple Blossoms" by Josef Petrek (Public Domain Pictures)

I used this graphic before, back in 2010, when I wrote about potential. I was looking at apple seeds then -- odd looking, elongated and varied in size. Singly, each seed has the potential to repopulate the species across our planet. That's what caught my attention -- potential. Now I’m looking at differences between the seed and the plant that grows from it.

Paul knew how seeds did not just grow bigger to become a plant resembling the seed:

And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: (1 Corinthians 15:37 KJV)

Paul was speaking of our earthly bodies and the resurrected ones. It was his answer to questions about how we would be raised after death. The next twenty verses are used to define differences between the physical and spiritual, bodies we have now and what will be with God.

I believe these verses are also applicable to what our spirit is before salvation and afterward – if we allow God to put us to good works.  (That’s why we were created – see yesterday’s post.) We do have the ability to quench the spirit, though we are asked not to:

Quench not the Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 5:19 KJV)

If we are asked not to quench the spirit, we certainly have the power to do so. Could it be that our quenching the spirit is a reason for our lack of Christian growth? Are we building a wall around our seedling that will quench its potential? Remember the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-23) where some seed fell on stony grown? The seed grew, but without roots it withered.

Is that where our faith comes in? Are the roots of our faith shallow, unable to soak up nourishment? Or, do they seek passage through that stony ground, following tidbits of nourishment from God’s word?

We’ve all seen plants blooming in odd places – stony ground, steep hillsides, weedy fields – how? Their roots sought more nourishment and pushed through obstacles to reach their goal.

I submit that God will provide what is needed as long as we seek Him and do His good works. Three Jewish captives understood this:

If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. (Daniel 3:17 KJV)

Paul understood, and knew that Abraham did, too:

And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. (Romans 4:21 KJV)

Do we also understand? Are we as persuaded as Paul is:

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39 KJV)

Which will we do - quench the spirit, or reach our roots for growth in God’s word?

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