Did you ever notice how some gardeners seem to have the proverbial “green thumb”? Whatever they grow thrives with seemingly little effort or care. They have a knack for placing plants in just the right place to ensure optimal growth and they always know what each plant desires.
My mother was like that. I often marveled that her plants never suffered the ills mine do. In fact, they grew profusely, so much so that she was always clipping and rooting new houseplants and her garden was like the local greenhouse. All I needed was a shovel and a strong back and I could divide any perennial in her yard to place into mine.
I asked her why her plants did so well when she practically ignored them and mine were struggling under my watchful eye.
She said plants like to be established and then left alone.
I was forever fussing over mine, trimming, over-watering, re-potting, moving from one spot to another – that is not the way plants like to live.
Growing in Grace
Perhaps the difference between my mother’s gardening method and mine is the same as the difference between growing in grace and striving by works. Trying to please God by what we do is the opposite of how we are to live in Him. Once we are established in His salvation we do not need to strive to maintain our place in Him.
Salvation could never be secured by works or earned by pleasing God. The price required was too high and only Jesus could secure this gift for us; we simply receive our salvation by grace through faith.
The Bible says just as we received Him (by grace) we are to walk in Him.
That means our maturity is to be attained through His grace pouring into our lives as we get to know Him, not through the striving of trying to please or appease Him. Constant fretting and tampering and wondering if a change here or a good deed there will make God love us more is not growing in grace.
Establish your roots firmly in God’s free gift of salvation, gain nourishment from His Word, but allow His grace and touch to lift you to the next level of maturity.
Rest in Him and know that you are loved no matter what you do or don’t do.
God is the Master Gardener and under His green thumb you’re guaranteed to grow in grace.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8
Calling on the Master Gardener: Lord, thank You that I am saved by grace and not by works. When I am tempted to strive to please You, remind me that my walk is based on Your grace and perfect acceptance of me and not on my ability to perform for You. It is sometimes hard for me to remember, but I know that You love me just the way I am and nothing I have ever done or could ever do will make You love me more or cause You to love me less. Amen.
Preparing the Soil:
Do you strive to please God? In what ways are you working to earn God’s grace?
If you find yourself playing the “If…then game” – If I do this then God will like me better or bless me more or answer this prayer…”, then you are most likely striving instead of walking in grace. The way to break this habit is to practice praise and gratefulness. List the attributes of God such as faithful and patient and all you have that God has given you regardless of your actions. Reflect on both lists and ask God to help you break the habit of walking in works and learn to rest in His grace.
Sowing the Word: Are you sure you understand God’s grace? This is the foundation of a believer’s faith. Write down questions you have concerning this fundamental truth and begin to search the scriptures concerning God’s free gift of salvation and what it means to walk in His grace.
Establishing Roots: Galatians is the handbook of God’s grace; Romans 3:23-28, Hebrews 10:12-24 & 13:9
Garden Wisdom: Most plants are harmed by over-watering rather than under-watering, so be careful not to leave your potted plants with wet feet. The location is important too, but once you find a place your plants like, leave them alone and let nature do what it does best!
If you haven’t found God’s grace then you haven’t found the best of Him yet! My highest prayer for you is to rest in His grace. ~ Mary