The more you grow like this, the more you will become productive and useful in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. —2 Peter 1:8 NLT
Every year my husband got the old tractor out of the barn, sharpened the blades on the mower, and took the time to cut what used to be productive hayfields. Forty years ago, they yielded hundreds of bales.
But no more. Over time, the hay thinned out because no one was farming the land anymore, so the soil wasn’t cultivated. But he didn’t want the fields to grow wild, allowing unwanted trees, shrubs, and bushes to take over. Left untended, the fields will go back to their natural state. If we ever want the land to be productive again, we’d have to add lime and fertilizer to the soil.
Those fields are a reminder of what I’m like when I neglect the disciplines that foster healthy spiritual growth. Bushes of bad habits, shrubs of subtle sins, saplings of selfishness spring up when I don’t take time to mow them down through prayer and Bible reading. In the light of God’s Word, I examine my life, confess the sins God reveals to me, and ask Him to help me mow them down and keep my spiritual fields free from unwanted growth. Left untended, I’d go back to my natural state, where my sin nature reigns.
But simply cutting down unwanted growth isn’t enough. Like our fallow hay fields, my life would be unproductive without extra work.
God has given us all we need to live a godly life, but we have to invest our own time and effort to become productive by adding to our faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love.
“Do this,” God tells us, “and you will never stumble or fall away” (2 Peter 1:10).
Indeed, He promises the very gates of heaven will swing open wide.
Dear Lord, forgive me when I neglect my fields. Help me to be diligent and steadfast so that I can be productive for You. Amen.
Read and reflect on 2 Peter 1:3–10.
From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God, © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.
Image created by Paulette Johnson/Fox Hill Photo, from “How to Restore a Hayfield to Full Production,” by Daniel Johnson, Hobby Farms