Growth: Are you searching for better nourishment?

As tree roots perform the tasks of food acquisition and delivery to the tree trunk, they also provide the structural support to resist wind storms pushing against the tree. The roots also resist the overturning by the cantilevered weight of the branch growth of a healthy tree. As a branch grows out, it is in search for life giving light. Light is the engine that powers the tree; light is critical to a healthy tree.

A person’s roots are the same. No matter where the tree grows, your roots provide for the nourishment of the soul. It does not matter if you grow in the desert of the urban slums or the desert of an area of affluence or within the lushness in the region of a loving family. Following the tree metaphor, you are engaged in a search for light. Many seem to look for their light in all the wrong places; in other people, in sex, in drugs, a booze bottle, or their work. The true light is only found in Jesus Christ.

Roots in rocky ground produce dry blinded amoral selfishness, which most often hurts everyone. The person that comes to his or her senses will actually wish to search for something better in life. At some point any soil is going to be better than rocks. So now, could this soil, let’s call it “regular ground”, be the ticket to happiness and fulfillment?

One should ask, what does “regular” mean? Regular to what? Regular to a nun in an isolated convent would be grossly different from regular to a member of a street gang. Whose definition should we use for what is to be considered regular? Regular, according to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary is something that is “constituted, conducted, or done in conformity with established or prescribed usages, rules or discipline.” Rats, we are back to what the culture tells us is regular; what if the culture is off track or worse yet, wrong all together? A wrong datum or benchmark produces wrong information and a grossly wrong reality.

Do we follow the majority consensus? Or do we follow in the words of Robert Frost in his poem, “The Road Less Traveled”; that is, take a different road – a less traveled road that has made all the difference? The Bible tells us that the road to hell and destruction is wide and crowded, but to find real life in Christ, you must enter the narrow gate (Matthew 7:13+14).

So what then is your “regular ground”? Where have you found nourishment? What do you feed on? Is your ground fertilized with E! on television, or the written manure of Cosmopolitan Magazine or worse yet, The Star? Or, do you feed on the Bible? Which text has the best food? That is…the most long lasting nourishment? Which produces the most worry and envy? Which produces the most peace? Which shows how you are loved? Which heaps the most burdens on you to be perfect as prescribed by the culture? Which shows you how to love? Which shows you selfishness? Which shows you how to be concerned with self instead of with others? Which shows the most grace and which shows the most vanity?

When I was very young, maybe ten or twelve years old, I had the feeling that I was not alone. I’m not talking about family and friends; I’m speaking of a feeling of a higher power. I felt that “something” was going on from a religious point of view. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew I needed to find out. During my youth, my family did not attend church on a regular basis. Our attendance was better than the “Christmas and Easter only families,” but not much better. We attended an Episcopal church in Oklahoma City. The church service, one I like to call “high church,” was filled with cool ritual, though not as much as the Catholics. I loved it. There was a hymn before the sermon during which all the children had to leave the Sanctuary and go to Sunday School, I mean to play school. When I attended, there was no “school” in our Sunday School. It was strictly playtime. I would beg Mom and Dad to let me stay so I could hear the priest’s sermon. It moved me; it filled me but I knew there was much more. In comparison, it was only a sip of sweet wine. But it was indeed a big fat taste of the good stuff. As the Spirit started to fill me over the next 25 years, I came to understand how empty I truly was; but more importantly, I came to realize how much I was loved by Jesus!

I set up a footlocker in my clothes closet with a table cross, a couple of candles and a Bible. As an early “closet Christian,” I knew something or someone was talking to me and I wanted to know more. It was a miracle that I never caught my clothes on fire with my candles in my closet; my parents never knew or maybe just didn’t think about the risk of a kid in a closet full of clothes with a candle. Perhaps I was protected by the Holy Spirit, about whom I was just learning.

I was baptized by sprinkling as an infant and later confirmed in the Episcopal church and became an acolyte. I loved it; it moved me. I still didn’t know much but, of course, Saint Paul once said similar words (1 Cor. 13:9). It didn’t matter to me as “let the little children come to Me” rang in my ears (Matt. 19:14).

There are some Protestant denominations that believe your change by the Holy Spirit is immediate; they talk about knowing the exact time you were saved and received the Holy Spirit. If you can’t name the day and the hour, many believe you are not saved. Hogwash! While there can indeed be immediate change like that, I don’t believe it happens that immediate way to the majority of Christians. Of course, I would never limit the Holy Spirit in how He elects to act. Most Christians grow in the Spirit over time as they mature (Ephesians 4:13) as they come to personally know Christ Jesus (Colossians 1:13) and become a Child of God and a joint heir to the Kingdom of God.

Growth is a wonderful thing! Are you doing it? Are you searching for better nourishment or are you fighting against Jesus by making up some ridiculous argument? It is an insane argument for those wishing to reject God and the Church, by spewing the worn out cliché that the church is full of hypocrites, as if there are no hypocrites outside the church. At least we Christians know we are sick and where to find the one and only doctor that can save us, Christ Jesus (Mark 2:17)! My belief remains that you doubters of Christ are sick much more than we; my hope is that you too will desire to seek the only proper medicine, the only proper nourishment available to you. It is my firm prayer that you come join us instead of fighting us.