Being from Iowa, I cannot count the number of times I’ve been asked if I grew up on a farm. Not only did I not grow up on a farm, but I think my parents (who had grown up on farms) went to significant lengths to ensure I knew basically nothing about farm life. It was not until I served my first church, which was in a Wisconsin farming community, that I began learning about farming. I was shocked by all that goes into growing the food us City-folk enjoy on a daily basis. I had grown up thinking you just planted seeds, the rains came down, and a few months later you gathered the harvest. I was blown away by everything that goes into bringing food to my table. Farmers have to study their soil, adding nitrates and other elements as needed. They have to select their seeds from a market place clogged with offerings. They have to understand weather patterns in deciding when to plant. Most now use GPS technology to help plant their seeds in the most ordered and efficient fashion. They are constantly worried about moisture. Too much moisture is bad, but too little is also disasterous. To put it crudely, farming is an extremely laborious, complex, scientific, and expense process. It takes a lot of effort to grow the food you and I enjoy each and everyday.
Just as we can take farming for granted, we can take our own spiritual growth for granted. We often times think that as long as we show up for a few church ministries, and do more good than bad in our lives, then we are growing in our faith. The truth is that a growing faith takes a lot of effort. If we are going to be the men God has created us, saved us, and equipped us to be, we need to be putting in the hard work to grow in our faith each and every day. 2 Peter chapter one reminds us of this importance of working hard to grow.
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8
This scripture highlights six specific areas to growing in: virtue/character, knowledge of God, self-control, steadfastness to God’s Word, brother affection, and brotherly love. When you look at this list, where do you need to grow? What steps do you need to start taking to grow? Just like growing crops takes a lot of input and effort, growing to be men of God takes tons of regular effort. However, just like those crops yield amazing meals for our tables, our hard work blesses those around us. My prayer is that you may always be growing in your faith.