One of my favorite parts of working in the garden is the sense of accomplishment you feel at the end of the day. Before we started yesterday afternoon the grass was looking a little long, some of the flower beds needed to be raked, and a few little things needed a bit of a handyman’s touch – and we got most of it done. When looking around at what we had accomplished we felt good! I wish we could experience the same instant sense of accomplishment when it comes to our spiritual growth. I have been reading a really challenging book about authentic Christianity and have been identifying areas of my life that eventually need to look different. It has been difficult to come to terms with since these changes are going to happen over a period of time and are not going to be easy.
When it comes to growing spiritually this is not something that be achieved like gardening. You can’t wake up one day and declare, “Today I will be spiritually mature!” Maturity takes time, it takes consistency and often, the changes which will take place will not always be able to be observed from the outside. Spiritual growth is an internal change which impacts our actions. Spiritual growth occurs in our hearts first and that heart change often takes time. One of my favorite scriptures that I come back to over and over again is found in 1 Samuel 16:7:
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature because I have rejected him. Humans do not see what the Lord sees, for humans see what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.”
Samuel, when tasked with going to anoint the new king, fell prey to being impressed by the outward appearance of one of David’s brothers. But God is clear – God sees our hearts and this is what ultimately counts. Heart change takes time and cannot be tackled in a day – but the effort that we expend to allow the Holy Spirit to bring about this change is completely worth it. At the end of the day spiritual growth is gradual – sometimes unnoticeable – but the more it occurs, the more we look like Jesus. And I really want to look and live like the one who saved me and who has the power to save the world around me.