December 2, 2018

The Little Orange Tree

Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; 

Last year, I saved some orange seeds from a really sweet orange I had for lunch one day. I put them in a small pot of dirt, and a week later two little leaves pushed up through the potting soil. A few more leaves grew and then it seemed to stay the same size for a very long time. It didn’t appear to be growing much at all.

I brought it in from the patio for the winter months, and as you can see in the picture, I decorated it for Christmas and it looked very pretty and petite on my kitchen counter. 

When spring came, the little orange tree went back outside, still in this small container and I watered it and watched it very slowly grow and I mean seriously slow. 

I stopped paying much attention to it. It just blended in with the other plants on a table on the patio. And then one day, it was taller, much taller! My little orange tree had a huge growth spurt! I had to buy a new pot and give it room to grow.

Now, it doesn’t seem to want to stop growing. I am going to have to transplant it again! More was going on than I could see and the result is a larger orange tree.

This is how our spiritual growth is. Maybe I don’t see the growth, but God is working in me! 

We know that God works in us, changing us and growing us. Maybe we haven’t learned to recognize some of the outward signs of the work God is doing in our lives because we don’t notice some of the slow changes that have developed in our lives.  

Think back a year or two ago and consider areas you have improved in over that time period.  Are you nicer to people in your family or at work than you used to be?  Are you reaching out and helping someone in need that you would have normally passed by not that long ago? These are behaviors that are outward signs of the inward work the Holy Spirit is doing in your life. He is changing you and making you who He wants you to be.  

One of the changes He works to make in our lives is teaching us to be more patient.  Were you more patient with a spouse or child this week, a sibling or parent?  Developing patience and kindness towards others is one of the best measuring sticks of growth and progress in a Christian’s life. These are the kind of changes others will notice and will become a testimony of the work God is doing in your life.

Sometimes this growth that produces maturity is a slow process and other times we might have a sudden growth spurt as my little orange tree eventually did. God will bring about needed change in our lives as we continue to surrender our hearts to Him and allow Him to work in us and lead us. 

Philippians 2:13 For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.