My wife and I are very amateur gardeners. Over the years, we have dabbled with growing potted plants, vegetables, roses, and other flowers. To be honest, we are not very good at it. This month we moved to a new house, and in the process of packing and moving all of our belongings, we took inventory of the many potted plants in our back yard. We noticed that while the plants were getting plenty of water and sunshine, most were not healthy, nor were they growing.
While talking with a friend who has much more experience, we learned that the soil was the issue. The plants needed new soil because they weren't getting the nutrients necessary for the roots to go deep. The vitality of the plant is in direct proportion to the health of the soil. We had been preoccupied with the visible part of the plant with no consideration of the hidden part.
The same can be true of our spiritual lives, and it reveals why some Christians are not growing. Proverbs 4:23 says, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." The soil, the inner (unseen) part of us, must be healthy to have spiritual growth.
The preacher closed the sermon with a call for those ready to trust Christ as Savior to raise their hand. He acknowledged their decision and led them in a prayer of confession, repentance, and faith in Jesus Christ. Afterward, the church applauded in celebration of those who committed their lives to Christ. The pastor dismissed the congregation, and everyone went home talking about what a powerful service they had. But what happens next? What happens to those new believers who courageously placed their faith in Jesus?
Discipleship is about continually taking the next steps. To be a follower of Jesus, you have to follow. So many Christians move forward until they find a place of comfort in their faith. It's here that, tragically, they plateau in their faith and stop growing. This is not God's plan, nor his will.
My wife and I recently bought a home in our community. The property has a good backyard, but the wooden fence is in terrible condition. Time, weather, and termites have taken their toll. If we don't take action to replace the fence, it will soon fall, leaving the property without the protection of the boundary.
Like a fence around my property, I need borders in my life. Boundaries are essential for several reasons. They clearly identify what belongs to me. They outline areas that are permissible. Within the limitations, I have accessibility and freedom. Boundaries also protect things that might bring danger or harm to my life.
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