The Wrong Environment for Growth
Updated: Oct 28, 2020
There is something to be said in how God speaks through the most unusual and unorthodox things. For example, I am not one who gardens. As a matter of fact, give me a plant or any type of greenery and I promise I will find a way to kill it. Sad but true; however, God speaks the loudest to me during my attempts of working in my yard.
I started the yearly work on my yard extremely late this year, blaming everything on corona (lol), so when I got the urge to begin, I was going for the bare minimum. This would include, cleaning out the flower bed, throwing some mulch down, buying some lights to pretty things up would have to do. YEP! That is it; so on to Lowe’s I go.
I recall looking around for some mulch, and I must have looked confused, because a Lowe’s associate came up to me asking if I needed some assistance. I giggled and said yes, I do need some help. I proceeded to explain to him I was here to purchase some mulch, preferably black. While standing in front of a particular brand (don’t want to divulge, besides, it could appear I am endorsing a brand over another), he informed me I should not purchase this brand.
Before I could ask any follow up questions, he immediately went in to describing the characteristics of the mulch. Walk with me a bit and I pray as you read, the Lord will speak to you right where you are.
Consider…this black mulch has a tendency of staining any type/color of brick. Once it touches the surface or rubs up against any surface, there is a residue it leaves. Is your environment rubbing off on you? Is your social circle causing you to be better or bitter? Is your growth being stunted? In Romans 12:2, we are encouraged not to conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed and progressively changed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Some of the places we go, people we hang with, things we enjoy should not leave its residue on us. We are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a people for God’s own possession (1 Peter 2:9) and when we conform to the patterns of this world, we dissolve into the crowd, and can no longer be seen separate from anyone else.
There was another key point he wanted to make sure that I understood as to why this brand of mulch was not a good purchase. The Lowe’s associate went on to say if I purchased this brand and laid it down, everything under its surface would stop growing. As I stood there looking for some understanding, he further explained not only would it stop growing, all things would suffocate. Hmmm, so this mulch that I was purposefully going to purchase, will not only prevent future growth within the flower bed, but also suffocate the life of things beneath?
What a way for God to make it plain about people, places, and things I choose to have in my life. But surely, I am not preventing my own growth...or am I? We love to play the victim and blame the enemy for everything; however, everything is not the devil, everything is not the enemy and sometimes the enemy is within me. Am I holding onto to friendships, relationships, grudges, bitterness, anger, things God has told me to remove? Have I now held on to these so long, it has attached itself to my life, suffocating me, and affecting my growth?
God, through Jesus Christ, wants growth for His children (Ephesians 4:12-14). He desires intimacy that we may know Him (Philippians 3:10) and know Him in a way where our growth is evident as to what we are consuming. Just as when a baby is born, they are fed milk, but soon thereafter, milk is not enough, and they need solid food. If a baby receives solid food prior to them being ready, it will prevent complications with their digestion. Our relationship with the Father is the same (1 Corinthians 3:2). We must spend time with Him continuously, wanting, desiring more so we can handle the solid food He provides.
Are you asking what this has to do with purchasing black mulch? Everything! The purchase I had to make was my choice and although this seems to be a simple transaction, this purchase has a major life impact. We all have decisions to make, where to go, who to be around, how we dwell and what we abide in. When we abide in Him, we produce good fruit (John 15:5). Ask yourself, what do you want? Do you want to produce good fruit, or suffocate your own growth? Choose today, who you will serve (Joshua 24:15).