This time of year, many of us are already gardening, planting, fertilizing, weeding, landscaping, spraying, pruning, and all kinds of other springtime agricultural rituals.

The key to growing anything – grass, flowers, vegetables, shrubs, trees – is developing a good root system. Plants depend upon the nutrients and moisture provided by the soil. The deeper and more extensive a plant’s root system, the more it will be able to survive drought, wind, disease, and pests. 

So it is with our growth as Christians. We can’t grow without deep, healthy roots. The apostle Paul prayed for the saints in Ephesus “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3.17-19). Before they can grow upward, they need to first grow downward.

Paul had a similar exhortation for the Christians in Colossae. “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude” (Colossians 2.6-7). Growth, gratitude, and a deep faith are impossible without a deep root system. 

That’s why regular spiritual disciplines and practices are so essential to the formation of our faith. Bible reading, meditation, memorization, and study are building blocks of spiritual maturity. We need the daily challenge of personal Bible study as well as the weekly opportunity to study with other Christians. Prayer is an opportunity to expand our root system by expressing gratitude and praise to God, as well as offering our petitions to him. Worship keeps us vital and strong. It provides nourishment and refreshment from the harsh realities of life. It gets us in the presence of God and in the presence of his people. It puts our minds on a higher plane awhile each week. 

So, while you’re thinking about taking care of your lawn and garden, take a bit of time to nourish your soul. Get some water and feed, pull some weeds, and get ready to grow.