Do you need more courage and trust that acts on God’s promises? Do you need more humility and patience that is better able to get along with others? Do you need a more positive kind of outlook that resists complaining and worrying? Do you need to boost your will power? control your anger? endure hardship? heighten your joy?
There is a better version you. Jesus sees it and is committed to it. Are you? He teaches about change as essential to his saving activity in your life. It was Jesus who coined the phrase “born again” (John 3:3).
To help you understand and take steps toward healthy change, Jesus talks about planting and gardening as it relates to your growth.
A farmer plants seeds and months later he harvests exponentially more seeds because of a growth process that changes the seed into a plant. Jesus also compares the kingdom of God to a small seed that grows to become a plant large enough for birds to perch on its branches.
Does the one who creates new life know best how to upgrade yours, stretch you to new places, and expand your horizons? Didn’t Jesus himself even develop and grow in his mission to come to this planet, become a real person, and live and die and rise so that you could do the same?
So now, instead of settling into the status quo or clutching your comfort zone, believe in Jesus’ teaching about the kingdom of God. Your growth is essential. Here are 4 promises of Jesus about how good God really is, why you can trust him, and how growth happens.
- God’s patience exceeds yours. Jesus explains, “A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how” (Mark 4:26,27). Do you ever lose patience with yourself, frustrated that you can’t get over a bad habit or control a sin? Ever lose patience with someone you love? This man goes to sleep knowing that the seed will sprout and grow but not overnight. God is patient with you and has lots of time.
- God’s power excels yours. “All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come” (Mark 4:28,29). This farmer has the power of knowledge and skill. He uses his ability to plant seed, but the soil, seasons, sunshine and storms don’t belong to him but God. “All by itself” God’s seed in God’s soil grows by God’s power. That power of God changes you, too. Trust in God’s power to change you and instead of condemning you he condemns your sins. Trust in God’s power to forgive you and be faithful to your growth and new life. Even when you are sleeping!
- God’s process expects yours. God doesn’t need your help, but he does want your heart that loves and serves him, and your head that knows how. God’s kingdom work happens often in steps or seasons. Tuning into this work of God can help you grow.
- Finally, God’s product extends yours. Jesus concludes: ““The kingdom of God is like … a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants” (Mark 4:31,32). God produces big bushes from your small seeds, plant the seeds. Give God whatever faith you have, even when it seems small, and he can use it to move mountains. Give God whatever hope and prayer you have, even when it seems small, and by God’s blessing it can change the world. Give God whatever progress or small steps you can take at this time, and God will multiply it to become bigger and better than you imagined.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I want to improve, and am ready to change and grown. Thank you for loving me in your mercy just as I am, yet loving me enough to call me toward a better version of me. Guide my growth to be what you want me to be. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Read Mark 4:26-32 and compare your growth the the two parables of Jesus. Which truth taught by Jesus in those two parables can help you grow this week?