All growth begins with a solid 'planting'. It is Fall in Arizona, which means those of us with Bermuda grass all summer are scalping it low, sowing loads and loads of Rye seed, and awaiting the beauty of that bright green to emerge once again. Yes, we Arizonans are silly enough to want 'year-round' grass! The 'sowing' of the seed is on top of the existing grass, making it necessary to scalp that Bermuda lawn down very, very low. This method sometimes involves people putting either steer manure over top of the Rye seed, or a topsoil for grass, but not all of us do that. Some of us just sow and hope the birds won't scavenge every last seed! When the milder days begin to produce the subtle warmth to produce the growth, the blades of Rye will emerge through, having 'taken root' where they were sown. They weren't exactly 'planted', but it is sown where it can make good contact with the soil, in hopes it will take root. All it takes is contact with enough of the right stuff and the blades will soon emerge, bright and green, tall and vibrant. All it takes for us is contact with the 'right stuff' and we will emerge in the beauty of new growth, as well!
It is the 'contact with the right stuff' that helps to produce a growth that is both 'intelligent' and 'discerning'. We actually do ourselves a disservice when we limit our contact with the things God has provided for our growth. Things like other believers, the Word, and time in service to others. We don't become 'intelligent' in the ways of God by osmosis. We learn of his ways from others - seeing how he moves in their lives often challenges us to 'change up' how we are living ours. It is the connection we keep with the Word of God, keeping it alive within us by taking in bits and pieces of it on a daily basis, that we are able to be nourished into fresh growth on a continual basis. As with all types of planting, there must first be the seed. The seed isn't worth much on its own - but once it is sown, the contact it makes is so very important. The right contact, combined with just enough nurturing to bring forth growth, and there will be an emergence of good stuff - you just wait and see!
As I put the seed out on the fresh scalped lawn, the first week was the most important, not only because it needed all the watering to occur so the soil never became dry, but also because I had to guard against all those flocks of hungry birds that stood at the ready to 'claim as their own' what I had just sown. I had to stay alert to the 'needs' of the freshly sown seed. It needed my protection and care. The same is true in our lives - as seed is sown into our lives, it needs a whole lot of attentive oversight in order to have a good chance of taking root and bearing fruit! This might just be why we are told to keep our eyes focused and clear - to be able to see clearly and take hold of that which is provided for us. The oversight of God in our lives never ceases, but the focus we must maintain is just that - maintained! It requires a revisiting of the places where growth is imminent in order to see that those places are being maintained, free of scavenging 'seed thieves'.
Soon my lawn will be in, but until then, those emerging blades of new growth give me a hope that makes me excited about the next patch of growth and the next one. The full yard will one day be green and full, but each small patch right now encourages me to look for the next. This is how it is with our spiritual growth, as well. We don't see it all at once - it is an emerging thing. Little by little, because of careful attention, the seeds sown will produce signs of growth. As you may well imagine, some of the seed is stolen away by those scavenging birds. There might be the need to sow just a little more seed in some of those spots where they took their liberty to steal away the seed. This isn't dissimilar to what God does in us - sowing a little at first, then observing for signs of growth. If the places of our lives need a little 'reseeding' on occasion in order to produce the fullness of growth he desires, we need to trust him with that process. He sees the bigger picture and he knows where it is we are vulnerable. He knows the areas that most need his focus - and he isn't willing to allow us to have 'bald spots' without growth!
It might seem elemental to some to compare our spiritual growth to reseeding a lawn, but it isn't elemental at all. There is a process and the process takes much attention. God doesn't just 'seed' our lives and take a 'come what may' stand. He maintains his vigilance, not afraid to 'scalp us down', seed over past growth, and reseed as necessary, until there is a fullness and intensity in our lives that reveals nothing but the vibrancy of his presence within! Just sayin!