heart-planting series// powered by the Son

seeds planted in a garden sprout blooms of beauty after just the right combination of watering, the power of the sun and time.

so far in this series we've addressed similarities in the way a garden and our faith both grow.  Faith must be planted and faith must be watered, too.  today we'll discuss the way our faith blooms after giving the power of the Son some time to work.

our faith can only grow with the power of Jesus

Christianity is often attributed only to faith in God, and He is a big part of it, yes.  But what it really takes is knowing who our Savior is.. knowing who Jesus is.

Jesus is the central focus of Christianity because of what He was created to do.  

though God made the world, and every person on it, and had unlimited power and sovereignty, He could not make His children obey Him.  He watched them suffer from their own poor decisions and went to great lengths to show them He demanded better.  Still, they sinned and remained separated.  So out of that great love, He sent Jesus to pay our debt.

when we plant faith in our heart, and decide we are going to believe in God, that is a beautiful thing.  and when we water it by joining a bible study, attending church, and seeking fellowship in every place possible, that is also a beautiful thing.  

but it isn't until we surrender all of those decisions to God, 
in the name of Jesus, that we really grow our faith.  

we have the power to decide to believe, and we can take on new activities that keep us on track, but only by the power of Jesus' love can we grow closer to Heaven.  think about the key aspects of being a Christian and consider the way Jesus is at the center of them all:

relationship:  He draws us to Him
Jesus explains to us in John 10 that He is the Good Shepherd.  In John 10:16 He says that "there are sheep that are not in His fold, and He must bring them in, and then they will listen to His voice."

as people continue to be separate from God, it is clear in this passage that Jesus even has a plan to go and get them.  He doesn't say that they will join the flock, but that He will bring them in.  though we could immediately think this scripture applies only to atheists or seekers, isn't it possible that it could apply to believers who are detached or in a valley of sorts?  

discernment:  He helps us to understand His word
one of my most favorite scriptures as a new believer was Luke 24:45, and it is still special to me now.  just after Jesus appeared to the disciples, "He opened their minds so they could understand the scriptures."

it was startling for Jesus' disciples to watch Him walk into their presence after having watched Him suffer and die only a few days prior.  He had to facilitate their ability to understand the knowledge of the Word that was prophesied about Him.  in the same way, we are not familiar with the trust we must have in a man who died and rose again.  it is only by the way of the Holy Spirit working in us that we are able to hear the prophecies of His life and death and come to accept them.  

joy: He helps us to know the Grace we have in Him
this is the make or break for Christians.  we are never going to be perfect, this we know.  but we can work towards perfection by constantly choosing joy.  Paul spoke of joy to the Romans, telling them, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:13)

joy is often mistaken for happiness and bliss.  though it is a positive emotion, joy is much more complicated.  joy allows someone to find peace in a tragedy, forgive when it seems impossible, and see success through one storm after another.  joy stems from knowing that you were saved by Grace, and keeps you feeling humble, compassionate and satisfied.  

joy is the result of a full heart

our God not only fills our hearts with peace and contentment but gives us just enough more that we cannot help but extend it.  it is difficult to summon such feelings on our own because joy comes from a foundation of knowing what could have been had a Savior not come for our very souls.

our faith happens not because we initiate and nurture it, but because there is a loving God waiting to fuel it with an open hand and an infinite power.  nothing we do is complete without His Grace and Mercy.  our faith is truly powered by the Son

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