But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18
We’re looking at the things a plant must have in order to grow — like good dirt, water, light and protection — and thinking about how that applies to us. We started off with the good, rich dirt and how our church can be that nurturing environment. But if the dirt isn’t regularly infused with water, that is the word of God, we will dry out very quickly. That’s not all we need. If the rich dirt is well-watered but shaded, the plant will lose strength and die. We need light for growth.
As we think through these, it’s important to remember that this is an analogy and won’t have a one-to-one correspondence between picture and reality, and we are likely to see a lot of overlap. The point still stands that there are some critical things that we need to grow as believers.
The theme of light is woven throughout Scripture. It is associated with God, His presence, and His glory. Certainly we have no life without God. He first formed Adam. Job 33:4 affirms this. So as we saw with water, we cannot grow until we are first made alive, and God is ultimately and solely responsible for giving us life.
Light is also used symbolically and metaphorically in Scripture and those ideas are the ones we will draw from for our study.
Light is understanding
In the opening chapter of the book of Ephesians, Paul mentions that he prays regularly for the church there, and this is what he prays: “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power Ephesians 1:17-19
In other words, Paul prays that God would help the believers in Ephesus understand:
The HOPE that comes with being called to salvation in Christ Jesus
The RICHES and GLORY of the inheritance the believers will receive.
The EXCEEDING GREATNESS of God’s power working on our behalf, transforming us to be more like Christ
As those realities sink in, as they take hold of our hearts and our minds, the only response is a deeper commitment to live for Christ, that is to live in obedience and honor Him in everything. That light then shines into the darkness around us.
Light is righteousness
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:5-7
We must live a different, distinct lifestyle from the rest of the world. Our conversation, our conduct, our compassion, our discipline, our work ethic, our generosity, our patience must set us apart from the standards of the culture. We must be distinguished by the active good that we do more than the evil we oppose. (And I’m not saying don’t oppose evil. Of course we oppose evil. But if the only thing the body of Christ is known for is what we are against, we have a problem. We are not communicating the love of Jesus.)
As we continue to live a life that honors Jesus, that imitates Him, we will grow.
Next week we’ll look at one more necessary thing – protection.