“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” (John 12:24 NIV)
When you think about your walk with Jesus, some days you may wonder, “Why is this so hard? I’m still struggling with so many problems. When will I finally get it right?”
In my journey as a pastor, I’ve learned that spiritual growth is often like the growth we see in nature — the best fruit ripens slowly. In John 12:24, Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (NIV).
The problem is that we tend to get impatient, so we dig up the seed to check the progress of its growth, and that slows down our growth! If you’re not seeing as much fruit as you’d like, don’t despair. Growth takes time.
In the meantime, try these steps toward spiritual growth:
Nurture growth with God’s Word. I know you’re already doing this, but when you read the promises of God again and again, it helps you remember that he is at work, even when you can’t see him at work: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV).
Cooperate with God as he prunes. Praise God for the work he’s doing in your life, remembering “he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more” (John 15:2 NLT).
Pray through the “fruit list” from Galatians 5:22-23. The New International Version of the Bible lists the fruit as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Ask God to help you grow this fruit in your life.
Talk About It
Today, instead of focusing on your struggles, ask yourself, “What has God promised for my life? How have I seen his faithfulness in my life?”
As you pray through the “fruit list,” in which fruits do you especially need God’s help to grow?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional ©2013 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.