My word for 2022 is flourish – to grow or develop in a vigorous or healthy way. That definition gets to the heart of what I am really seeking this year in my walk with God – healthy growth and vigorous development.
As I embrace this concept of flourishing, another word has been on my mind.
I looked up the definition of intentional. It means to be done on purpose, or deliberate.
Everything about this word captures my goal for 2022. To live on purpose. To grow and develop in healthy ways.
I’ve been asking God to show me how I can be more intentional about flourishing. To flourish intentionally. These words in Psalms came to mind:
Blessed is the man (woman) that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his (her) delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
There are a lot of “self-help” tools that will point us in the right direction toward spiritual growth (I actually took a look at a few) but ultimately, the only way to grow and develop in a truly healthy way is to follow the instructions and examples that are found in Gods Word.
Our culture has been brainwashed into thinking that true and lasting fulfillment is found by indulging in things that God never intended for us to be a part of. Television, movies, books and magazines all claim to have the answers in a pill, a diet, a lifestyle, but ultimately there are some very specific ways that we must focus our attention in order to grow.
A few years ago I decided to purchase some house plants. Mind you, I have not been blessed with a green thumb. In fact, I’ve killed every plant I’ve owned in the last 30 years, so my expectations for success were pretty low.
Still, I was intent on having real (and not artificial) greenery around our house. After doing a little research on plant care, I went to a local nursery and picked out 3 healthy looking plants that came with specific care instructions that seemed doable. I also purchased the recommended plant food and a watering can.
Once home, I put each plant where it would receive appropriate sun light, and then I followed a feeding/watering schedule that suited each plants needs.
It turns out that I wasn’t cursed with a black thumb. I had just made some rookie mistakes my first go round. This time, the plants grew. It wasn’t long before they needed larger pots. And then they grew more, eventually needing to be transplanted again.
Intentionally growing is a lot like my experience with these house plants. Here are a few things I’m learning:
- Plant yourself in Gods Word. Self-help books and other people’s interpretations are poor substitutes for the truth we find in the Bible. We will grow when we plant the character and promises of God deep within our heart.
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 3:18
- Grow through obedience. It is one thing to know what God says on a matter, but it’s all together different when we practice obedience to it. Loving, trusting, repenting, forgiving … These are all commands given to us from God. Without obedience to God’s Word, we won’t grow.
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
- Be real. Fake plants require nothing but a little dusting once in awhile. We may like these easy to care for decorations, but nobody likes a fake person. Even in our airbrush culture, we despise counterfeits and crave authenticity. Fake people won’t grow anymore than fake plants. They won’t produce the lasting fruits of the spirit, either. Real people radiate real faith and real fruit. Real people grow.
For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”
- Develop roots. The strong roots of a plant are vital to its growth. Without a viable root system, a plant will not gain what it needs to produce fruit and it will die. This is true for the believer as well. Roots are established through prayer and obedience, through reading Gods Word, through regular church attendance and continual teaching under the theologically sound preaching of Gods Word (this is our “Light” source). Roots grow deeper as we trust God in our everyday lives, as we serve Him, as we worship Him, as we give thanks to Him, and as we praise Him. These roots are the vessel by which God is able to feed us, water us, and help us to grow.
“And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”
“that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
“And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; and when he sowed, some seeds fell by the wayside, and the fowls came and devoured them up: some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: but other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.”
Jesus said “since they had no root, they withered away.” The lack of “roots” will was the cause of withering. Roots hide beneath the surface, but they are the life-source of the plant.
Growing house plants isn’t as daunting as it once was, but their health is not by accident. I had to be intentional about it.
How are you living on purpose this year? What are you doing to grow in healthy ways? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section.
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