Why Should I Grow?
It’s summertime, and that means a few different things. Weather that’s too hot? Absolutely. School’s out for the time being, though that’ll change soon as that cycle begins again. And another thing, too: plants are growing.
Why do we plant things like vegetables, fruits, flowers, and trees? What is our purpose behind doing that? It’s what they grow into, isn’t it? We plant foods so that they produce, well, food. We plant flowers because we like how they look; trees look nice too, as well as providing shade. We care for plants like these because they have a clear reason for being grown. When thinking about growth, a question comes to my mind: how is it that we, as Christians, should be growing? What is it that we’re growing into?
We’ve got a principle from Jesus’ teaching in Luke 11.24-26 that fits here. Jesus tells of an unclean spirit—in basic terms, a bad thing—coming out of someone and leaving behind a place. Now, two options exist at this point: use this space, or don’t. Obvious, right?
Well, what does it mean to pick one of these options? What would that look like? Think about how Jesus speaks of it. The spirit wanders a while, then comes back to what was once its home. And what’s this? Nothing’s changed! The area’s clear; it needs an occupant! So this evil thing is more than happy to be that occupier, and even gets some other friends of his to move in as well. The resolution: “the last state of that man becomes worse than the first” (Luke 11.26).
We’ve got an example of what happens when nothing is done, when we get rid of a problem and don’t replace it with anything good. This problem returns, and now it’s worse. What is Jesus getting at? Don’t ignore problems. Do you know how to stop something bad coming back? Rent out the space that evil left to a new tenant. Find something good to replace it with. Seek out a good investment to work towards.
Corn grows because it has a goal. A crop is planted for the purpose of growing into something useful. In nature, we note growth because that plant is becoming more like the desired result. As humans, we’re able to set our goal. What then is our desired result? Do we grow away from bad, or do we go towards good? Those are different. Is the aim of our growth to only cut out the bad parts of our lives, or are we aiming to grow towards God and bear His image?
Be like corn. A bit corny, I admit, the concept is good. Jesus warns us about simply avoiding failure, instead calling us to produce good in our lives. Let’s not make growth about just getting evil out, but like a plant does, let’s actively choose to become more like our desired result: God.