Grow Anywhere

The study of nature is truly fascinating, especially the study of plants. It’s particularly intriguing to see plants growing under some of the harshest conditions of cold or heat and in some of the most unusual places. Some survive in the cracks of concrete pavement, on bare rock, or way above the ground on high-tension power lines.

The sight of lichens growing on high tension power lines, some 40 feet above the ground, caught my attention on a recent trip to Jamaica. Amazing, isn’t it? How do they survive on those wires without soil, water or other nutrients? In child-like simplicity, I quipped to a bystander that they grow by feeding on the electricity. The truth is, the Creator who made them, equipped them with the ability to take nutrients from the substance in which they are rooted, as well as from the atmosphere. So, although we can’t see it, these little plants, hanging ‘hopelessly’ in the air are drawing moisture, gases, light, and other nutrients from their surrounding environment.

Grow AnywhereWhat we don’t see is far more powerful and profound than what we do see. The flowers in our garden don’t make a fuss, yet with the passage of time and the right conditions, will cause them to blossom into resplendent beauty (Matthew 6:28).

There is something to be learned from plants growing in normal as well as in unusual places. When we see plants growing like that, it should remind us to make the most of what’s available to us, personally. In other words, if we fall on stony ground we can still grow!

No plant can grow unless it remains rooted in the source of its strength. We too, can only truly grow when we stay rooted in Christ: the Solid Rock, the source of our strength (Psalms 89:17). It’s said that a tree’s greatest growth is in the midst of a storm when it sends its roots deeper to stand firm and braces itself to weather the storm. The deeper we send our roots in Christ, the firmer we will stand in the face of trials and adversities.

Have you noticed that plants never get distracted? That’s because they are totally consumed with growing. When we allow the cares of life or persecution or anything else distract us from growing towards the Kingdom of God, we become like those plants that fell by the wayside or on rocky ground. They had the potential to grow, perhaps even flourish, but they fell victims to their environment (see Mark 4:15-17). Don’t allow legitimate or illegitimate needs or wants distract or derail you.

Consider a grapevine. No part of it can grow unless it stays connected to the rest of the vine. We must stay connected to the True Vine. We read in John 15:1, 4,

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser… Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”

Grow AnywhereMost plants grow from seeds or spores. Before a seed bursts through the ground as a tender seedling, it first must die. Jesus used this analogy to illustrate the need for us to die figuratively, from vanity and carnality, in order to live for God.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:24-25).

In this we see a picture of the act and process of repentance and renewal. As we put to death the deeds of the flesh and our own selfish desires (Galatians 5:19-21), we allow the seed of God’s Holy Spirit to germinate in us and produce these fruits: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

We can only survive and flourish when we have our lifeline connected to Christ. As a lemon tree is distinguishable from an orange by the fruit it bears, so the world will know we are Christ’s disciples when we bear godly fruit in abundance (John 15:8).

The psalmist tells us that the children of Israel “limited the Holy One of Israel” (Psalms 78:41). They did this by griping and complaining about their environment and the situation in which they found themselves. We can make the most of our circumstances by thriving and not just surviving—or we can focus on what we lack, fold our arms and wither up and die. The choice is ours.

God is not limited by geography or circumstances. He can nourish us in a desert just as in a fertile land. By abiding in Him, not only will we be able to grow and be nurtured like the lichens, we will produce a bumper crop for ourselves, for others and for His glory, bringing forth thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold! (Matthew 13:18-23)


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