How to Thrive in the Christian Life
One Mother’s Day, six-year-old Sawyer brought a pitiful looking plant home from school. It was one rather droopy-looking shoot of green sprouting out of the hastily packed dirt in a red solo cup. I had no real love for the plant or for its pathetic appearance. But, to my son it was a whole garden of greatness, painstakingly coaxed upward from one little seed he’d planted weeks earlier. So, I set the cup in my kitchen window. Every few days Sawyer would ask if I had watered it. I’m a notoriously bad plant owner and generally kill anything green within 100 yards of me. But, because he was so passionate about seeing this plant flourish, I watered it.
Some weeks I went several days between waterings, and often it looked as if the plant had one slightly brown leafy foot in the grave. Somewhere along the way my mother came to visit, and she had mercy on the floundering plant and repotted it in a nice little clay pot. I kept watering. Some days the sun seemed a little too hot for it, and it drooped and looked quite depressed to be in my care. Other days some kind of insidious little bug ate through every leaf. I was certain the plant was actually dead on more than one occasion, but since my sweet little boy was so insistent that it survive somehow, I kept watering.
After a year of this touch and go plant situation, one day I noticed that my droopy little Mother’s Day gift suddenly looked lush and happy. A few days later, to my complete shock and disbelief, the once pitiful little plant that had been on the verge of death for an entire year began sprouting beautiful, dainty, bright pink flowers.
I didn’t even know that it was capable of producing flowers. But, here it sat, beautifully filling my window with these incredible pink blooms. I’m not entirely sure what made the difference, but I think that little plant just needed to mature to a point where its roots grew strong. Finally, everything that had been going on underneath the surface of that small plot of dirt showed in the multiplying leaves and the gorgeous flowers. The plant had needed a better system of getting nutrition. And, once those roots took hold and spread out, suddenly God’s beauty covered the whole thing, practically overnight.
For a year this plant had been providing me the perfect picture of what it’s like to be a Christian who doesn’t live as if the Bible has all authority. If you let the culture determine your view of the Bible instead of insisting that the Bible create your worldview, then you will flounder in the faith. You will struggle endlessly for any kind of assurance, confidence, or peace as you observe this crazy world around you. Like my poor little plant, you will just about be eaten alive by all of the opinions that try to tell you how you should live and what Jesus would do.
When you decide that the Bible is the ultimate authority in your life, when you determine that you will trust it and a right interpretation of it above all other sources, when you get to a point where you can be confronted with opinions of all kinds without being swayed to turn from what you know the Bible says is true, then you will flourish in your faith. You will grow, and your radiance will glorify God right in the middle of a dark, dark world. We all need spiritual roots that grow strong and bring us the truth for facing the wild climate of this culture. The Bible is the source of all knowledge and wisdom, where roots take hold and grow us in our faith. Then, before we know it, the beauty of God is coming out of us, too: truth and love and mercy and peace. Not anger. Not confusion. Just the goodness of God and a steady reliance on His word.