When we first started our flower garden we planted three small lilies in one corner. The first year they were so weak that we bought little braces to help hold them up. The stems were only about eight inches tall, extremely fragile and thin and the flowers were tiny with no seeds at all; but it was only their first year after all. What more can you expect in the first year? Could we expect more from the flowers at all???
A brother in Christ who has encouraged me several times over with his preaching at a sister congregation in town once told me to “keep it green.” I thought it was a funny statement at the time but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. He wasn’t making a political statement; in his own way he was telling me to keep growing spiritually. When we stop growing spiritually (i.e. when we stop “keeping it green”) we automatically start dying spiritually.
Okay, back to the garden. The tiny lilies that we planted now grow anywhere from three to four feet tall with stems as thick as your thumb! They’re the “big dogs on the block” now. They have so many flowers that they bloom at different times increasing their lifespan and usefulness to all the insects and hummingbirds around them. Even more impressive is that they produce so many seeds now you can hardly keep up with them…these things multiply! The plants are now mature and are able to support themselves without any bracing whatsoever. They did what they’re supposed to do – they grew and now they cause other lilies to grow with their seeds too.
Christians have a personal responsibility to grow. Some Christians are unfortunately just as immature spiritually as they were the day they obeyed the gospel. There’s no doubt about it, we have a responsibility to support one another spiritually (Galatians 6:10), but some have been on the “milk bottle” for too many years.
To some these words may sound harsh but it is the truth. Paul rebuked some Christians who were members of the Corinth congregation when he said, “I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able;” (1 Corinthians 3:2). Some of the Hebrew Christians came close to danger because of their spiritual immaturity too. They were told, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.” (Hebrews 5:12).
A young Christian is not expected to know everything (as a matter of fact I have yet to meet an older Christian that knows everything) but there is a matter of responsibility when it comes to “growing up” and a responsibility for older Christians to help the younger ones grow. But how can we keep others green and growing if we are neglecting our own growth?
Indicators of our spiritual maturity are everywhere. We must examine and be honest with ourselves. We must keep growing through God’s word.
Are you feeding or being fed? How green are we keeping it? How long has it been since any spiritually growth was seen? Think about it. EA