I talk a lot about growth here. Growth that happens in the garden, as well as personal and spiritual growth. One thing I have noticed about this method of change is that it only happens with exposure to three elements.
When a seed comes into contact with the warm light of the spring sun, something miraculous occurs. New life bursts forth and another entity is born. With more time exposed to sun, moisture, and nutrients from the soil, this little sprout continues to develop and brings forth new existence.
In my own life, and in observing others, true growth doesn’t happen without a similar three components. For the seedling it was sunlight, water, and soil. For humans it happens with conviction, encouragement, and inspiration. This process begins and is sustained by these three basic essentials.
light : : conviction
As the light of truth shines it convicts. Where we were once oblivious or deceived, we now have new information that dispels the darkness. This can be a shocking and life-changing revelation. Once exposed to this data one of two things can happen: we may choose to shrivel from this exposure, or we find encouragement in the freedom the truth offers. Sadly, most often in my own observation and experience, we like the comfort of our ignorance or the accepted beliefs we have acquired. But, if we allow this truth to convict us we move forward to the next component of growth…
water : : encouragement
If we choose to find encouragement in the freedom truth offers we begin to allow it to change us. How exactly this happens would depend on the truth, but nonetheless we don’t continue on as before. We begin to see with new eyes. This aspect I like to compare to water or moisture. We examine our lives, our purpose, and our goals with new clarity. This begins to seep into how we live…it is fluid and constantly challenging and erupting our life. It trickles in until we burst forth, a changed being. Often this needs repeating to motivate and relearn when some convictions begin to go stale. If we allow the truth to encourage and change us, a new life begins to break forth.
soil : : inspiration
This element of growth comes with time and experience. This is where we really allow the truth to change our lives, granting it permission to recreate us. This happens with delving into the truth and digging deeper, becoming rooted. In practical application this can be study, sharing our insight (we all better learn things by sharing), and learning from others who are inspired by the same revelations. As we do this, we begin to act upon our discoveries. Once we learn about something, we put it to practice. If all we do is study, we never test that knowledge in a practical way. We should eventually become so inspired by our exposure and the verity of what we are learning that we start to live and breathe with conviction.
Note: While conviction and encouragement may come before inspiration, to have true growth we need all three of these things actively in our life to propagate change, just like the seedling continuously needs sun, water, and soil. The seedling does NOT continue to grow on its own without these three basic elements. So also, we do not have authentic development in our lives without constantly keeping conviction, encouragement, and inspiration in our daily experience. If we don’t have all three in balance, we will either shrivel from the truth, or become water-logged by it and rot.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. : : 2 Corinthians 5:17