WEEKLY CHRISTIAN BIBLE STUDY AND DEVOTIONAL FROM GOD’S WORD, FOR THE NEWLY SAVED AND MORE SEASONED BELIEVER, AND FOR OTHERS SEEKING TRUTH. OUR PRAYER IS TO ENCOURAGE YOU AND STRENGTHEN YOUR FAITH IN GOD’S INFINITE MERCY, LOVE AND GRACE, AND IN THE GOSPEL OF THE DEATH, BURIAL AND RESURRECTION OF HIS SON JESUS CHRIST, THAT ALL WHO SEEK HIM HAVE ETERNAL, ABUNDANT LIFE.
Saturday, March 6, 2021
Follow the Light
Photo by Emilian Robert Vicol 2010
Given the time of year -- nearly spring -- and the COVID restrictions causing many to spend more time at home, many people may be planning or even starting a spring garden. Planting has many spiritual applications, from sowing the seed, to nurturing and watering the growing shoots, to bearing fruit and harvesting the crops. This reminded me of a post I wrote several years ago, reposted below.
While reorganizing the kitchen pantry a few months ago I
was surprised to find a plastic bag containing several vegetable seed packets
dated 1998. I had totally forgotten they were there, but at least I learned that
I really ought to clean out my cupboards more often!
Rather than toss the seeds, I thought it would be
interesting to see if they had any life remaining in them, so I planted a few
seeds of each variety in the wells of an egg carton.
Lo and behold, seven days later a determined seedling pushed
through the soil, after 18 years of lying dormant in the dark! It was a bush
bean, according to the notation I had made on the egg carton. The dried casing
that had once covered the seed lay shriveled up beside the new sprout.
In the days and weeks to come the bean plant grew rapidly,
shedding its first set of paired leaves and sporting new ones in clusters of
three. Readers of this blog, knowing my penchant for patterns of three in nature and in Scripture as reflections of the Trinity, will understand my
excitement at seeing these leaf triplets!
The bean stalk always inclined itself toward the overhead
kitchen light, sometimes growing on an angle, so that I had to turn it in the
opposite direction to help it grow straight. But no matter how often I turned
it, it would keep reorienting toward the light.
About a week later, the bean sprout had company. A melon
seedling timidly poked up through the soil, barely distinguishable from the
white particles of perlite in the starter mix. But it was far less vigorous
than the bean, and instead of following the light, it inclined itself toward
the bean plant, apparently preferring its company to seeking out its own source
of new life.
And, just as I had given up on any other seeds taking root, a very tiny, threadlike shoot
appeared in the mint well. I practically needed a magnifier to spot it! Yes,
these expired seeds (20 varieties) brought forth three live seedlings!
Despite more time, water, light and fertilizer, however,
the mint only crept horizontally along the ground, stunted in its growth and never
lifting itself to the light source or even to its neighbors.
Needless to say, it will be a long time, if at all, before
we enjoy the fruits of this miniature “garden!” But at least observing these seeds
grow brought to mind some Bible truths.
The first is to never give up hope! With God, all things
are possible! (1 Peter 1:3; Matthew
19:26) To our human reason, planting seeds 18 years after their
intended growing season is a ridiculous exercise in futility. But God’s timing
is always perfect (Daniel 11:29; Galatians
4:2), and nothing is too hard for Him (Isaiah 59:1).
He promised and delivered a child to Abraham and Sarah when
they were ancient and long past their fertile years (Genesis 18:14), blessing them with a son and all mankind
with a great nation that would give rise to the Messiah (Genesis 26:4).
Much later, God the Father allowed His Son, Jesus Christ, God
in human form, to raise Lazarus from the dead even when his body was already
decomposing (John 11:39-44).
Best of all, He raised Jesus Christ Himself from the tomb (Matthew 28:6) to everlasting life
in His glorified body, so that all who place their trust in His death, burial
and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
as the only Way to Heaven will have forgiveness of sins and abundant and
eternal life with Him! (John 10:10,28;
14:6; Acts 13:38; 26:18)
Our earthly body may crumble in the grave, left behind
like a discarded seed covering, but our soul and spirit will one day unite with
a heavenly body that will never age, get sick, feel pain or die (1 Corinthians 15:35-50).
God’s children may grow impatient waiting for Christ’s
return (Titus 2:13) and the Rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-54; 1
Thessalonians 4:13-18) – I know that I keep looking up!. But we need to
remember that with Him, one day is as a thousand years (2 Peter 3:8), and to have faith that He is working behind
the scenes, allowing all who would be saved to accept Him (2 Peter 3:9), and preparing mansions in Heaven (John 14:2) for each of us!
In each of our lives there may be long periods of dormancy.
Before we are saved, the Holy Spirit works in our lives and in our hearts to
plow that infertile soil until His Word of salvation takes root (Matthew 13:3-23).
In my case, decades elapsed between the first time I heard
a clear presentation of the Gospel and the moment I accepted Christ as my Lord
and Savior. So never give up on praying for (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and witnessing to (Matthew 28:19) unsaved loved ones!
Once we become His children, there may be long periods when
we are “on the shelf,” not engaged in meaningful service (1 Corinthians 9:27) or bearing fruit (Matthew 21:19), either through our own disobedience or because
God is preparing us for a much greater work. We should pray for brothers and
sisters in Christ going through these fallow times, for we can have faith that
He has an amazing plan for each of us (Jeremiah
How can we live so as to orient ourselves with that perfect plan? By following His light. No matter which way the world turns us about and
tries to pull us away from God, Who is Light (1 John 1:5), we must constantly keep our gaze and mind fixed
on Him. Just as the bush bean grows constantly in the direction of the light, we
must walk in the Light, and then we will bear the fruit of the Spirit (Ephesians 5:8-14).
That will bring us the perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3) of knowing that we are in His will and that He
is guiding our path (Psalm 119:105),
giving us direction to grow in Him. He is the Light of the world (John 8:12; 12:46), and if
we follow His light, we too are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14), turning others from darkness to light (Romans 2:19; Acts 26:18).
The melon, growing sideways as it inclined toward its
neighbors, reminded me of those who are attracted to personalities in the church, or even to false teachings (2
Timothy 4:3), and not to Christ Himself (1 Corinthians 1:12-15). As our late pastor used to say, man
will always let you down, but Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).
It makes me wonder how many unsaved people are still in the
dark because they have concluded that Christians are hypocrites, and how many
Christians have dropped out of service because they were hurt by a pastor or other
And finally there is the mint, stunted in its growth because
it only crept along the dirt. Men prefer the darkness because their deeds are
evil (John 3:19), shirking
from the Light Who will expose their flaws. If we keep our minds in the gutter
by exposing our eyes, ears and senses to filth, we cannot experience the
renewing of our minds and transformation (Romans
12:1-2) into the new creature Christ wants us to be in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17).
May we focus on what is good, lovely and pure (Philippians 4:8) by following His
Light, so that we can be the light of the world and lead others to Him!