As a young believer I quickly became “all in” for Christ. Under the leadership of a godly young pastor and his wife (Jody and Michelle Flowers), I was influenced by their love and passion for Jesus. I wanted all God had for me.
After coming out of a long relationship with a guy, I decided not to date for a while. I wanted my affections for Christ to be undivided. I started each day with the Lord, went to college, studied, worked part-time, and then ended each day with the Lord.
On the floor of my room I would sing and worship to the new songs I had discovered (I didn’t know Christian music even existed prior to that!). I would read my NIV Study Bible for hours, taking notes and thinking about what I was learning and how to apply it to my life.
When I had questions, I would go to my pastor, and we would work together through the theology I was learning. I was in a discipleship class with other believers, memorizing Scripture, under solid preaching and teaching, and excited to grow my faith.
My worldview slowly changed to align with the Word as I immersed myself in it, yet the enemy didn’t let up with temptation and trouble. I was constantly seeking out the support and direction of those who discipled me, falling down and getting back up. But with their encouragement and support, I continued to grow.
3 Essential Truths about Spiritual Growth
If you have ever tried to grow a plant from a seed, you understand how important roots are. If that seed never takes root, you will have no fruit.
Jesus said something similar in His parable of the sower.
“Then he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.'”Matthew 13:3-6, NIV
Later Jesus interprets this parable for His disciples.
“‘Listen to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the words and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.'”Matthew 13:18-21
Jesus describes two types of people in this first part of the parable: those who hear the message (the gospel) and don’t understand it and those who hear and receive it with joy, but since they have no root they fall away at the first sign of trouble.
Both of these people need to grow in their understanding of God and His Word. The first group need someone to teach them the elementary truths of the gospel (Hebrews 5:12). The second group need to be discipled in their faith and grow in maturity (Hebrews 6:1).
Trouble and Persecution Will Come
We are living in times unlike anything I have experienced in my fifty years on this planet. Here in the West we have grown accustomed to a certain level of comfort and self-sufficiency that makes us feel secure.
But much of that has been shaken. As trouble and persecution come, will we be able to stand, or will we be like those who quickly fall away because we have no root?
Jesus said that in the last days many will turn away from the faith and the love of most will grow cold (Matthew 24:10-12). Paul told Timothy that godlessness would abound by people who had a “form of godliness” but denied its power (2 Timothy 3:5).
You Need Deep Roots to Endure
Are we experiencing these last days now? It sure seems that way. Do you want to be of those who stay faithful through these times? Then you need deep roots.
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints. to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”Ephesians 3:17
You see, the message of the gospel is that God so loved the world He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). We know the words, but many don’t grasp their truth.
When we come to God in repentance and brokenness over our sins, we understand the love of God to send His Son to die in our place so that we would not have to pay the penalty for our sins. That love is what compels us to want to know Him more, to grow our faith, and to let His love take root in our hearts.
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”Colossians 2:6-7
Only those rooted and established in love, living and rooted and built up in Jesus, will have the strength and faith to keep standing when the foundations are shaken. These are they who will persevere until the end because their root goes deep in the love of Christ.
Deep Roots Take Time to Grow
Deep roots take time to grow. We don’t grow by default; we grow by decision. Spiritual growth requires intentionality, spending time in the Word and prayer, connected to a community of believers who will challenge, encourage, and support that growth.
How about you? Do you have a shallow faith that wavers? Get into the Word of God and grow your understanding of its truth. Seek out mature Christians who will help you grow. Ask the Lord to reveal His love for you.
If you have received Jesus as your Lord and Savior by faith, continue to live in Him by faith, abiding in His presence, in His Word, and in His love (John 15). Only then will you have the depth to withstand the troubles and persecution in this world.
What the world needs right now is the fruit of our faith: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Abide in the True Vine, and let your roots grow deep.