New Growth Rarely Happens in Old Places
by Whitney Capps
When God plucks us up, sets us apart, and transplants us elsewhere, it forces us out of comfort and into change. New growth rarely happens in old places.
Every year I go and buy flowers from one of those big box stores. I love ferns and annuals on our front porch and back deck. All of my new tenants will live in a pot or container of some kind. I’m not really a green thumb, primarily because I am lazy. I don’t even attempt perennials because they won’t live up to their namesake. Not under my care.
But last year I got ambitious. Rather than just set the pot of flowers in a container, I actually transplanted them into a pot filled with dirt to grow. I carefully cut away the cheap, flimsy, black container they came in and buried the plant in fresh, loose soil. It was messy and hard. And honestly, I wasn’t 100% sure that I wasn’t killing my new plants in the process.
But you know what? They all thrived! My front porch and deck flowers were prettier than they had ever been before. I later discovered that in years past my plants had likely become root bound. Because I left my ferns in the too-small, less than-ideal pot they came in, their roots had nowhere to go as they grew. So, they dug in, and tangled themselves around one another. For a fern, a cramped mess of roots underneath can ultimately cause it to strangle itself, stunting its own growth. My fern didn’t die. It was still nice to look at, but it wasn’t growing or flourishing.
I bet some of us are root-bound. We are still green, but we’re not growing. We’ve dug in and refused the Lord’s transplanting of us. Is it just me? We are alive, but we aren’t thriving. That’s not what God intended for you or for me. I know it. And I bet you do too. This is why I think dealing with the internal process of sanctification is absolutely necessary for growth.
Unfortunately, most of us are more accustomed to checking the leaves or blooms and ignoring the roots. We wrongly assume growth is evidenced by what we can see. In truth, growth happens in the dark, in the dirt, in the hidden places. By the time you see the flowers, the dirty, productive work has been done. So, when it comes to our spiritual growth, if we don’t examine the roots and be open to the discomfort of a transplant, re-potting or cutting away, we won’t see progress. And I bet, you’d like a little spiritual progress, right? Man, I would. I don’t just want to look good on the outside. I want to actually be growing. And I think, maybe for the first time in my life, I’m willing for Him to do whatever it takes to give me the space (and discomfort) I need to grow. I’m willing for Him to dig me up, set me apart, and transplant me elsewhere if that’s what it takes to develop spiritual maturity.
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