I am not sure why, but I really enjoy taking care of the plants around my house. I have amassed a bunch of potted plants and planted many in-ground plants and trees as well. I am especially interested and intrigued by fruit bearing trees and plants. My grape vine continues to produce tasty grapes…I hear they are wine grapes, but we use the juicer and wow what an amazing grape juice.
I just planted a lime tree and avocado tree and both are doing well. My Orange tree was doing great, for I trimmed it this year and wow, it is laden with oranges. I had to battle the rats and other vermin for my very sweet tangerines, but I think I have fixed that problem (that’s a whole other story I may tell of me and the mighty ‘Sting’!?!).
One particular plant that I have been tending is my two cherimoya trees. I have grown them from seeds and they are doing fantastic. If you don’t know what a cherimoya is click on this link. These trees have taken extra care, but the joy of the fruit will be worth the effort.
As I was out working my eclectic orchard/garden and thinking about the efforts I was putting into these plants, I was reminded that these plants are a lot like our lives and our spiritual growth, that the efforts we put into our faith is worth it. Not that our efforts earn salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9) or that our work makes us more righteous (Romans 3:22– we are made righteous by Jesus, not by our works), and as well no efforts we put out make us more or less loved by The Lord (Romans 5:8, 8:35-39).
What our efforts do accomplish is a maturity of faith, quality skills and talents for God’s purposes, and the production of the fruit of godly character. That is why the Apostle Peter challenged us to take the risk of growth in 2 Peter 1:5-7…
2 Peter 1:5-7 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
The words ‘make every effort’ can be translated as ‘at your own risk,’ meaning there are efforts we need to put out to grow, and those efforts will take risk and many times sacrifice. Peter explains the worth of these efforts in the next few verses.
2 Peter 1:8-10 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brother, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.
Taking the risk and sacrifice to grow in faith is worth it, like when we put out the effort to know God more and learn of how great and mighty and lovely and powerful and beautiful and awesome He is, and grasp how immense God is. As learn of Great God, our love not only expands, but our problems tend to shrink. As well, when we put out the efforts to learn skills; how to study the Bible, how to mentor/disciple, how to share our faith, how to be a better neighbor, community member, servant…we are available to be a useful worker for God’s purposes. In addition, as we cultivate the seeds of God’s implanted character (see Galatians 5:22-23) we will see the fruit/evidence to that character in our lives.
Yes we live in an instant entitled society where it is not greatly encourage to work at anything. However, the efforts we put into our faith is worth it.
2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
Again our efforts don’t make us more loved or righteous or make us more saved, but they do yield the great fruit of a thriving life in Christ. Why not put out some good efforts this week in the garden of your life, there is great fruit waiting to come out.
Seeking to take the risk and sacrifice with you to grow in faith,