This article is written by Jennifer Yates as part of the Deeply Rooted series. To submit a guest blog, click here.
Our property is lined with pecan trees that have stood for almost a century. Several generations have called this farm home. But over the years, the trees have grown old. They haven’t been pruned or fertilized. And for the last several years, they have begun to bear less fruit. Rather than gathering nuts, we have mostly been gathering broken limbs.
After several hurricanes and severe flooding in our area, several of the trees have been completely uprooted. Even though these trees have stood many years, after much neglect they are slowly dying and creating more labor than bounty.
As followers of Christ, we are called to grow, flourish, and bear fruit for the kingdom of God. But without being deeply rooted in the Word of God, we will struggle to produce good fruit. Rather than bearing love, joy, and peace, our spiritual lives will grow empty and stagnant.
Just as a new baby needs to be nourished in order to grow, we too must feed our spirit so we can grow and mature in the Lord.
“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good”1 Peter 2:2-3, NIV
I know from experience. When I first became a follower of Christ, I was single, in college, and in love with Jesus. Coming from an unchurched home, I knew nothing of the Bible. Once I got into the Word, I couldn’t get enough of discipleship class, asking questions, studying, and growing in my understanding of truth.
A couple years later, I started my first job as a teacher and got married, all in the same year. Suddenly, many things were vying for my attention, and it became harder and harder to stay committed to daily time in the Word. My joy turned to grumpiness; my peace became anxiety. Because I had neglected my spiritual growth, I grew frustrated and empty.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”John 15:5
Out of desperation, I finally surrendered to the truth in John 15, that apart from Christ, I can do nothing. I committed myself to daily time in the Word, no matter what. As I got back in the pages of Scripture, I began to hunger once again for those life-giving words. Slowly and steadily, my joy and peace returned.
The truth is that our soul will always have to battle between the flesh and the spirit. The flesh wants comfort and convenience. Our spirit desires communion with God. But we will convince ourselves we can make it on our own. Just a little devotional reading and a prayer here and there will suffice. But it’s a lie from the enemy.
Just as those pecan trees needed pruning and fertilizing, our spirits need to be nourished with the Word. The Word of God is living and active. The Holy Spirit uses those Words to bring conviction and instruction, discipline, and encouragement. We can’t grow unless our roots go deep, and that requires time and focus.
As women, those two commodities are often hard to find, but with a little intentionality and strategy, we can make it work. It’s not about perfection or ritual or duty; it’s about the heart and the desire. If we start there, God will do the rest.
Once we take responsibility for our spiritual growth and commit ourselves to daily time in the Word, the Holy Spirit will fuel our hunger for more. That’s why I encourage women to start with just fifteen minutes a day. Just taking that step can make all the difference, as long as we are intentional about it.
In fifteen minutes, we can read a chapter in its original context. We can then ask, “What does this Scripture teach me about God?” We can journal our thoughts and respond to God in prayer. As we do, the Holy Spirit will use that Word to teach, correct, and encourage, and we adjust our lives accordingly. That is how we nourish our spiritual growth.
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God”Colossians 1:9-10
Have you been struggling lately to walk in the peace and joy of the Spirit? Maybe like me, you have tried to get by with Sunday church and an occasional devotion. Don’t let the enemy keep you too busy or distracted to spend time in the Word. Decide right now that you will commit fifteen minutes a day to invest in your spiritual growth.
Let your roots go deep in God’s Word, and watch Him produce the fruit of it in your life. Pretty soon, you’ll be growing and thriving, and others will see that bounty as evidence of a faithful God.
Jennifer Hayes Yates is a blogger, best-selling author, and passionate speaker. Lover of all things Jesus, books, and coffee, she can be found in quiet corners or busy spaces, sipping lattes, studying commentaries, and chatting up strangers.