Growth

Winter has finally released its grip on us and the budding of new life is all around. Springtime is a time of renewal. I really like all 4 seasons but spring is an especially encouraging time. Renewal and recreation abounds.

This is usually the time people begin working in the gardens and yards. I was reared on a farm and there is just something within me that makes me want to plant something in the spring.

Consider for a moment the process of planting a seed in the soil. Most of us have probably helped a child to plant a seed in a cup and watch it grow. I am thinking about those planted in the garden that will eventually mature and produce fruit.

As the seed begins to germinate its first growth is downward. The natural process is for the seed to send roots downward into the soil. Assuming there is a proper amount of soil the seed will have roots extending deep into the soil before it ever breaks ground with the top of the plant. These roots anchor the plant, provide nourishment for new growth and sustain the plant as the warm sun shines from above.

Of course with the passing of the season the plant matures and brings forth vegetables or fruit. It is all a process of growth.

I am reminded of 2 Kings 19:30 which states, “And the remnant who have escaped of the house of Judah, shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward.”

This is an interesting verse. In the context it is GOD’S Word to His people spoken through Isaiah. But there is also an application to the Christian today. Namely, the verse contains a two-fold plan for the growth of a Christian. One is to take root downward and bear fruit upward. Grow downward and grow upward.

Let us use our seed illustration to draw a couple of points. The seed will eventually grow upward and produce fruit but that is only after it has grown downward and produced roots. These roots will sustain the growth of the plant in the days to come. No one would expect the plant to produce fruit before it produced roots.

So as a new convert to Christ, what is the analogy? When one is first converted they are like the newly planted seed. Their initial need is to grow downward. They must grow in their faith. How does one do that?

Romans 10:17 reads, So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of GOD. Faith is a result of growing in the word. Peter exhorted his readers at the end of his second letter to grow in the grace and knowledge of our LORD and Savior. One’s faith grows as they grow in the knowledge found in the Scriptures.

Just as the early root growth produces nourishment for the seed, so too the growth of the Christian produces nourishment. Two references in the Scriptures use an infant’s need for milk as an analogy for using GOD’S word to grow (Hebrews 5:13, 1 Peter 2:2).

It is important to realize this early growth in one’s faith serves the same function as the early growth of the roots. The roots anchor the plant, provide nourishment for new growth and sustain the plant as the warm sun shines from above. One’s faith serves as an anchor to stabilize us during the cycles of life. Our faith provides nourishment spiritually and sustains us during troublesome times.

After growing in faith, there will come a time when the child of GOD is expected to produce the fruit. Remember Jesus expected the fig tree to have fruit on it in Matthew 21:19 because it was mature.

So as one grows downward, they will begin to grow upwards. This of course will lead to bearing fruit. The Christian is responsible for bearing fruit even in old age (Psalm 92:14).

As we read passages like Galatians 5:22-23 we are reminded of the qualities or fruits that are produced in a life that is lived under the influence of the Spirit. I urge the reader to do a word search of the word fruit in the New Testament and give diligent study to understand our responsibility to bear fruit (John 15:2).

May we ever remember that as Christians we are to grow in 2 ways. And this is a lifelong process. We should grow in faith and in fruit. We, like those in Isaiah’s day, are to take root downward and bear fruit upward. I wish you success in both areas.

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