Are You Starving?

As a newly transplanted Yankee, I secretly laughed at all the southerners planting pansies in October.  Silly people, I thought, everyone knows flowers die in the winter.  What a waste to plant them just as it is getting cold. And pansies, of all flowers. Everyone knows pansies are wimpy plants.

Since my first October in the South, I have been enlightened. I now know there are vastly different rules that govern southern horticulture. Not only can you plant pansies in the fall, but you should plant pansies in the fall. They don't just survive southern winters, they thrive. And in the rare instance that it actually snows, their beautiful pansy faces continue to smile happily, even through a frozen white blanket.

I now plant pansies every fall.

Unfortunately, my most recent planting is not doing well. As you can see from the picture above, they're rather anemic-looking. Lots of green, but few flowers. My mom diagnosed their problem when she visited recently.  "They need nutrients! You can't expect to have flowers if you don't feed them."

Sadly, some Christians are like my anemic, non-flowering pansies. Though they have marvelous potential for beauty and usefulness, they're not flourishing spiritually. The writer of Hebrews speaks to them in chapters five and six. "Though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food (5:12).

All believers begin their spiritual lives as infants, but we're not supposed to remain infantile. I didn't expect my young pansies to look like full grown plants when I planted them, but I do expect them to grow into mature plants eventually. God expects the same.

The writer of Hebrews also has some words of encouragement for those who are stunted spiritually. "Therefore, let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity" (6:1).

Like my mom recognized that my pansies need nutrients to grow, Christians need spiritual food to grow. Often our growth as believers is stunted when we eat "milk" instead of "meat." Here are some examples of spiritual meat that every believer should consume:

1. Regular attendance at a church that teaches the Bible

2. Daily personal Bible reading

3. Fellowship with mature, godly people

4. A consistent way to study God's word.

It is important to note that none of these elements will happen if we remain passive.  We must take initiative if we are to grow spiritually.

If we, like my pansies, are not blossoming, we are missing out on a rich and full life characterized by spiritual usefulness, peace, joy, and beauty. Let us no longer be content with mere spiritual existence. Let's dig in to all the fullness God has for us in Christ Jesus!

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