Growing as a believer

I love gardening, and have lost many hours of my time to the small piece of ground I’m currently investing in. I live in Johannesburg, but a lot of the plants that catch my attention aren’t designed to thrive in our climate. My husband and I are huge fans of proteas, but they have the opposite needs of what our environment provides. You see, proteas love rain in winter and dry soil. We are blessed with huge thunderstorms in summer and our soil is brilliant at maintaining moisture. So far, my husband and I have lovingly killed two proteas by trying to make them grow in the environment we have. Proteas are expensive. I think we may have finally learned our lesson.

Plants are designed to thrive in certain environments. You can try grow them where you think is best but you will never experience the fullness of growth, unless you plant the plant where it is designed to be.

We are the same. Believers are designed to be planted in a church community.

As believers, our optimal environment, where we will thrive, is from within a church community. Believers grow in community, it’s the perfect soil, the perfect amount of rain and the best place for us to produce and grow, as we were designed to.

When you give your life to God, he gives you a new nature. Part of that nature means that you need to plant yourself where you’ll thrive. It says in Ephesians 4:24, “Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy “. Don’t fight your new nature. God has designed you to be rooted in a church community. There will still be growing pains, but if you stay in community, you will experience the growth and fruit that God has designed specifically for you. The bible encourages us to not give up meeting together as the church. It’s in scripture because, yes, sometimes it is difficult to be planted in community. Community can be messy, but, as a believer of Jesus Christ, your best possible place to live and grow, is within the church, your fellow believers.

If you remove yourself from community, and try plant yourself somewhere else, please don’t be surprised when you notice a lack of growth, fruit and life. As Josh and I have experienced, it’s an expensive process to try grow plants where they don’t belong naturally. I’d like to encourage you to learn from our mistakes. I share this story now shaking my head at myself. As our proteas began struggling, we bought products that would treat the issues. Another costly expense. And guess what? They still died.

If you’re in a place where you’ve tried to plant yourself outside of a church community and you’re struggling, please don’t try treat the issues that are presenting themselves. You’re going to waste your time and expend yourself unnecessarily. Come back to community, to where God designed you to grow. Treat the root issue.

As my husband and I have learnt, God knows where we’re designed to thrive. He knows what factors will cause life to spring up in you. Let Him plant you where He’s designed you to grow – in a community of believers.

By Lindi Marais