Growing Up in Christ

purple and white water lily flowers on water

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:4, 5 KJV).

“As with life, so it is with growth. It is God who brings the bud to bloom and the flower to fruit. It is by His power that the seed develops, ‘first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.’ Mark 4:28. And the prophet Hosea says of Israel, that ‘he shall grow as the lily.’ ‘They shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine.’ Hosea 14:5, 7. And Jesus bids us ‘consider the lilies how they grow.’ Luke 12:27. The plants and flowers grow not by their own care or anxiety or effort, but by receiving that which God has furnished to minister to their life. The child cannot, by any anxiety or power of its own, add to its stature. No more can you, by anxiety or effort of yourself, secure spiritual growth. The plant, the child, grows by receiving from its surroundings that which ministers to its life—air, sunshine, and food. What these gifts of nature are to animal and plant, such is Christ to those who trust in Him. He is their ‘everlasting light,’ ‘a sun and shield.’ Isaiah 60:19; Psalm 84:11. He shall be as ‘the dew unto Israel.’ ‘He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass.’ Hosea 14:5; Psalm 72:6. He is the living water, ‘the Bread of God … which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.’ John 6:33. SC 67.3

“In the matchless gift of His Son, God has encircled the whole world with an atmosphere of grace as real as the air which circulates around the globe. All who choose to breathe this life-giving atmosphere will live and grow up to the stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. SC 68.1

“As the flower turns to the sun, that the bright beams may aid in perfecting its beauty and symmetry, so should we turn to the Sun of Righteousness, that heaven’s light may shine upon us, that our character may be developed into the likeness of Christ.” SC 68.2

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for providing everything that I need in order to more perfectly reflect the image of Your Son, Jesus. Please bless me to simply abide in You through the study of Your Word and become the person You would have me be for the benefit of everyone around me. How I thank You for this new life and for Your abiding presence in my heart. Let me continue to walk in the way of life everlasting. With a grateful heart and in the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

NOTE: These devotionals began as daily texts to encourage my academy roommate and dear friend of nearly 50 years, until she suddenly passed a few weeks ago (Feb 2023). Now I continue to compile and send them to anyone who wants to receive them and to her family in honor of their mom. First, I pray and look for a Bible verse or passage and find a suitable commentary (or vice versa) and add a prayer. Some days, only a Scripture and prayer are ordered. I might even add a song. If you agree to receive them, then this way I not only honor God but the memory of a very dear friend whom I desperately miss. My personal prayer is that God will bless me to find ways to multiply this gift. So please feel free to forward to your loved ones or to anyone, as God leads you. I’m calling them Barb’s Devotionals.

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