There's usually something predictable about those wanting to do something with their lives and to be somebody in life. Their shelves are always full of self-help books. Their youtube account history has pages of Ted Talk videos. Maybe they've even taken some additional online courses. Indicators like these are all just a part of the training regimen of those who want more as they put their minds, bodies & spirit through test after test, so that they can hopefully grow their influence, impact and income as a result.
To be very clear about my thoughts on that: there's nothing wrong and plenty right about wanting more. I'm also one of those who geeks out with improving myself. You're my people.
That being said, I came across a powerful sentence that I can't get out of my mind. The more I look at it, the more I discover it's truth shaping me. Being elegantly simple and at the same time powerfully profound, any who are willing to accept it will most certainly see the visible effects of it being worked out in their own lives. I want to show you four distinct ways to grow. Let's look at Colossians 2:7:
Where you're rooted and what you're rooted into is vitally important. Both of these, the where and the what, tell us about the environment you're drawing from, being fed by. The soil you're in determines the nutrients you're receiving (or not receiving). There's something different about the taste, texture and size of some fruits that are grown in different areas of the world. While genetic factors have something to do with it, one cannot deny the fruit's health. Taste and appearance is always a by-product of where the root is drawing its nutrients.
Have you found the real nourishment for life that only comes through Christ? Your root system must be attached to something eternal - something immovable and unshakeable to hold you true in uncertain times. Someone in whom you can count on. Nothing and no one else can offer a more viable means of support. With Christ, your root system can grow deep and create a solid foundation for you to then grow... up.
The stronger the root system beneath the ground, the more stable and healthy things are above ground. The first visual of a sapling is quite inspiring. What once was hiding, developing, and gestating is now visible and out in the open. Things will happen - good and bad - but that little sapling will stop at virtually nothing to continue to take on the elements, receiving the sunlight and the rain, the heat and cold, as well as disaster and peace time. It knows how to use all of these to help its growth over the years. Some seasons will create setbacks, but others will create flourishing beyond expectations. It will strive to defy the odds, no matter what may come.
How about you? Are you ready to grow up? Can you stand no matter what comes your way? Can you use what was meant to beat you down to instead provide a means of growth?
There's something else extraordinary beginning to happen over time as you watch a young sapling. You will begin to see something start to peek its way out one side of the main stalk, then out another, and another, and so on. Branches are forming. It's not only reaching up towards the sun, but now it's also reaching out. In spite of all that has come against it... it's not only growing inward, but now also outward. If you were to watch it in a time lapse, it would seem as if it were exploding from the inside, out. This is the tree's way of spreading its wings to see what all it can touch and influence.
What does this say to you? Are you casting out your branches to see what else, or who else you can reach in your circles of influence? In your reaching up, are you also reaching out?
Perhaps this stage of growth is the most sought after, as this is where health is proven: In its fruit. From the root system, to its trunk, to its branches and now to its fruit, there's no denying its value. If healthy, its taste is delicious and its image a delight to all around it. If not, then it becomes a nuisance. Fruit is the result of everything else that leads up to it being on display. The result that truly cannot be hidden.
Much in the same way, the fruit of our lives is in how grateful we are for them, what we do with them and how we inspire others to do the same. Thankfulness is always attractive. Thankfulness is the fruit, or the proof of health. What type of root does your fruit show proof of?
Last of all, and most important, every fruit also bears a seed within it. A seed is a means of growth for a whole new generation that will succeed us. Think about that for a long moment. A generation neither rooted, built up, nor yet strong enough is counting on us to prepare the soil for them to thrive in. It's up to us to create an example, an environment and a support system that will show them how to grow down, up, strong and thankful.
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