Monday, April 16, 2018

Uneven Growth

Uneven Growth
April 16, 2018
John 1:5  "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."

If you look at the growth of any tree or plant or flower, you'll notice it has a physical leaning, possibly misshapen on one side even. All plants grow in the direction of the sun. It is inevitable, as the side of the plant or tree facing the sun gets the most nutrients from photosynthesis. This will give the plant a specific leaning, appearing as if it is reaching for the sun. You can see this throughout the day for a flower. Flowers will actually change directional leaning during the course of the day as the sun moves. Trees, if one side of the tree is blocked from the sun, will grow deep and wide on the side of the tree that has access to the sun, but be hollow and barren on the side shielded from the sun. 

There is so much to this analogy of a plant getting its sustenance from the sun. While you and I do need sunlight for a healthy body, we need the light of the Lord for our spiritual growth and well being. There are many references in the Bible about the Lord being a light. This light is meant to cast out the darkness. Darkness does not go away, it is cast away by shining light into the situation. Jesus is that light for us, His word and all that comes with it. The parts of our lives that have access to the light, those are the parts that see the most growth. The darkness in those areas of our lives is driven out when light is able to come in. As that light changes us, it can and will only change the areas it can access. If we refuse to let the light of the Lord access only portions of our lives, then we will grow in a very uneven manner. It will appear as if we are full and deep and wide with one facet of our Christianity, but hollow and barren in other portions of our lives. Granted, every part of our Christianity cannot grow all at once, all at the same growth rate, but we need to make sure to spin our lives so as to let the light can drive out all the dark areas where growth is not evident.

I've seen Christians who are the best encouragers in the world, loving on everyone with compassion, yet fail to ever attempt at a tithe or volunteer in service. There are multiple sides to our Christianity, and we need to make sure each has the opportunity for growth. It may be easy for one particular person to tithe, but possibly hard for that same person to tell others about Jesus. As Christians we are called to continual growth. Most Christians grow uneven, though, and that is OK. It is OK, as long as the Christian constantly assess the personal growth and realizes there are shortcomings in other areas of their lives. One person may be strong in taking care of orphans or widows but refuses to forgive others.  This is a slap in the face of Jesus, if left to continue unchanged. Of the pastors who have had moral failures in their ministry, my guess is that there was an area of their life they did not allow the light to shine in, to cast away that darkness. 

It is easy to grow unevenly, as we naturally take the path of least resistance. We favor growth in certain areas of our lives, but shun other areas because of difficulty or past pain, or even past failure. But the Lord desires us to be whole Christians, complete and not lacking. If we fail to grow, the Lord will allow hardships and trials to help spur that growth. He will also prune us, of unhealthy growth. The Lord's methods to help us grow are, unfortunately, slightly painful. But the mature Christian, he can reflect on his own life and seek the change and growth needed. Part of maturing in your walk with the Lord, is to identify where you are barren and lean towards the light in those areas. You are likely growing unevenly, but that's OK as long as you turn toward the light.

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Ps 19, Is 9:2 & 42:16, John 3:19-21 & 8:12, John 15:1-17, James 1:4-5, Heb 13:21, 1 Cor 6:19-20, 2 Cor 7:1, 1 Thess 5:2

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