I Corinthians 15:37-38 (NLT)
And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of wheat or whatever you are planting. Then God gives it the new body he wants it to have. A different plant grows from each kind of seed.
On the days that I seem to accomplish all that I set out to do and experience small victories in overcoming me to see Jesus in my life, it is easy to rejoice and say, “Look what the Lord has done.” But on all those days that I cannot seem to do all that I want to do or be the person who I think the Lord wants me to be, this life of believing seems futile rather than fertile. The truth is that our heart and lives will always be a fertile place because God ordained it as such when He placed Eternity in our heart that keeps us working toward forever. I cannot think about forever when I just want to get through one day. I want to be a super Christian. I desire the Lord above all other things but those same things demand my attention and need to be done. Where is the balance? How do I grow when I barely survive? I know His Word calls us to thrive and prosper as our soul prospers. (3 John 1:2) God has planned and purposed today – this day – as the day that you will prosper from the inside out. You may not feel like you are getting anywhere or doing anything of significance, but just by believing you are.
Zechariah 4:10 reminds us not to forsake the small beginnings in life. Righteousness is a gift once received, it will take time to cultivate the Spirit of God and mature as a believer. We do not give ourselves time to grow. I know that as a mother of five beautiful and wonderful children nine months of pregnancy more or less seems like forever when you are highly anticipating the birth of a child. You want to meet the one you love and so the days seem longer as time goes by. It is this anticipation that allows a mother to endure the hardship of labor and delivery yet forget all the pain when she falls in love all over again with her baby. We place an expectation on spiritual growth and development that is unwarranted making it so overwhelming that we often give up. This is not how it works. You are fighting a battle each day to force the sinful nature that is used to dominating your thoughts, attitude and actions out of the way to give God’s Spirit room to move. It is a battle. The struggle is real. Yet, we do not allow ourselves the opportunity to fail or fall short. Mistakes are not terminal when covered by Grace. The only time a fall becomes a failure is if you do not get up. What’s holding you back may not be the obstacles that you see before you but simply because have forsaken the small beginning that has the potential to change your life.
2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NLT)
Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Like you, I have asked the Lord to remove certain things from my life. He has lovingly declined. The trainers at the gym are given the task of encouraging those who are pursuing better health with a new routine. I was watching a woman working out with a trainer the other night who gave up. She told him that she couldn’t do it. He told her, “Yes you can.” She continued to insist that she was done. Finally, the trainer sat on the floor with her encouraging her for the remainder of her session. She got up and left. I wondered in that moment if she would come back again or be another gym fatality. Well, last night, she was back working out again. I believe that is how Jesus is with us although we paint a much less gentle picture in our mind. Because of the Cross and all that Jesus endured, we think that He expects the same of us. Well, think no more…about this lie from the devil anyway. If Jesus expected us to be as strong and perfect as He is then we would not need His Grace.
The Grace of God given to us by Jesus Christ works best in our weakness. We must come to the end of ourselves to fully experience the benefits and blessings of the Grace of God. Not many people want to go that far to discover His Grace, Glory and Goodness in their life. Who wants to admit that they cannot do it anymore? Who wants to rely on anyone else? We do not cry out for deliverance until our burden is too heavy to bear. This is not what God wants but it is what we require. As long as you think you are strong, you are bound to fall. Personal strength comes from our sinful nature. We must exchange the way we think and do things for the Power of God to ever accept the full potential of His Grace.
Romans 7:21-25 (NLT)
I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
This is not a word of encouragement for those who have given up in their battle to overcome their flesh but a promise for those who continue in such a struggle today. We all want to do what is right – we all inevitably do something wrong. If you love God’s Word with all of your heart, you will continue to strive to follow His Way in your daily life. Those who do will STILL mess up and make many mistakes because you are human. Jesus Christ has given us the power to overcome the flesh and live in the abundance of God. We must begin somewhere. Grace is made best in our weakness and admission that we cannot overcome our sin alone and need the Lord. But if we just say that with our mouth doing nothing in the flesh to make it a reality – what’s the point? For me to look at another and think “well they are stronger than me” is ridiculous because we are all weak. It is in our disability that we find new abilities. We must first decide that we want to overcome our sinful nature to embark on the discovery of God’s Grace.
Galatians 5:16-18 (NLT)
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
The Holy Spirit is our only hope to overcome sin in our life and the desire to sin. He is the only one who can stop those cravings in our life. So how do we let the Holy Spirit guide our life? We cannot see God’s Spirit. He lives inside of us. We must find a way to tap into this power source to overcome the oppositional and always adversarial sinful flesh that fights to hold us back, trip us up and continually invites us to give up on all the Lord has promised.
Galatians 6:7-8 (NLT)
Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.
With the introduction of Google and then Pinterest, I am quite certain I can find a solution to just about any problem that I face. I can fight any stain. Diagnose discomforts. I can find definitions and explanations when presented with something that I don’t know or understand. However, only God’s Spirit can empower me to overcome my propensity for sin. Only the Spirit can dispense satisfaction and contentment in my life that makes me want more of what God prepared for me and Jesus died for me to have which is His Very Best. You cannot mock the Justice of God – He knows our hearts. He is constantly examining them for new growth potential in our lives so He can bless and prosper us with His Goodness. You will always harvest what you plant even though it may not look like what you want going into the ground. My birth mother was not a cook. She fed us. But she was not a natural in the kitchen. When my dad remarried, my new mom can really cook. She is more of a natural in the kitchen. She introduced many new foods to us, as well as some we had tried minus the salt. I came to realize that I actually liked things like broccoli and Brussel sprouts. She did not force them on us but offered them to us to try and we liked them. This is how the Lord does it. He offers us something better than before and if we try it – we will soon discover that it is better than what we had before. We are given seeds to plant by faith in our life. When we do, we harvest things we did not know we liked or wanted. This changes our appetite and desires. It is the fulfillment of “taste and see” that the Lord is good!
Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
It is at this point that the Holy Spirit comes into play! To produce something it must be planted in our life and given the opportunity to grow. The Holy Spirit offers us seeds. They are listed in Galatians 5:22-23. All produce begins with a seed. To have love – you must plant love. To have joy – you must plant joy. To have peace – you must plant peace. To have patience – you must be patient and so on and so on. Grace allows us to cultivate what we do not always plant in abundance. We don’t always see immediate results. When I was a younger mother with three small children born in the span of four years, I had days when I was overwhelmed and would lose my patience simply because I had more children than hands. As time went on, two more children joined our family. Our last child had horrible colic every single night until she was about two years old. I remember thinking that if she had been my first that she would have been the last. But God knew that I needed to grow as a mother and so when she came I had developed more patience. Now those last two babies are twelve and fifteen, lovely ages said with a bit of sarcasm. The other night our daughter accidentally got hair dye all over our leather sofa despite being warned not to sit there. In the past, I would have yelled and screamed. Fussing at her disobedience as I cleaned the mess and pulled out my hair. But not this time, when it was all said and done – I just cleaned up the mess. This is how God works in us and through us over time. He allows us opportunities and experiences to grow over our lifetime and develop all these gifts of the Spirit. We must be willing to plant them in our life never despising the small beginnings that will change us forever.
2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (NLT)
Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”
Some people say that it takes money to make money. Maybe that’s true. But if that money is in your bank account or tucked away in a mattress somewhere, what good is it? You decide the harvest in your life but how much of your life you will yield to godly cultivation. Will you allow the Spirit of God to take over your flesh and make room for His Prosperity? I must decide what I will plant, cultivate and harvest in my life. If I plant hate, I will harvest hate. If I sow dissatisfaction accepting substitutions and counterfeits in my life, I will reap dissatisfaction from the same soil. God’s Grace allows us to sow where we did not plant because His Spirit makes a way for us to do so. We just have to come to the end of ourselves to let the Lord plant in our fields called life. God wants to do a powerful and prosperous work in our life today. Will we choose small beginnings? It’s really up to us! Plant something in your life today. Find a fruit of the Spirit that your life is lacking and choose to give God room to cultivate in your life. He knows you cannot do it yourself silly – that is the purpose of His Grace.
Isaiah 55:11 (NLT)
It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to and it will prosper everywhere I send it.