We are in the thick of summer, and I keep seeing my friends showcase pictures of all the beautiful veggies they are growing in their gardens. I’ve gotten the bug. I’m ready to try it myself, but I know nothing about planting gardens or growing vegetables. Instead of running to the store, grabbing supplies, and attempting to plant now, I know that I need to read, study, and learn to prepare for my garden next year. My garden is most likely not going to be fruitful if I plant now during the hot days of summer. I don’t assume to know everything about gardening; instead, I know that I need to learn more about gardening before I start this adventure. The process of discipleship is much like this venture. A disciple is a learner. To be a fruitful disciple of Jesus, embracing a learning posture is essential.
Once we experience salvation, it is then that we embark on the lifelong journey of seeking to become more like Jesus. We don’t suddenly arrive at mature disciple status. Discipleship is a faithful investment in our relationship with Christ over the long haul. We must be dedicated to learning the Word of God and applying it to our lives, for that is what truly brings transformation. Romans 15:4 says, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide, we might have hope.” We have been given the Word of God as a powerful tool to learn and grow, and that is what gives us hope.
Let’s take our gardening example and talk about three ways we grow as a learner or disciple of Jesus.
- Prepare the Soil:
Any good gardener knows the soil has to be carefully tended to establish the right environment for growth to occur. We build the foundation of our faith by being women of prayer, women of worship, and women committed to studying the Word. The attention we give to these foundational parts of our walk with Christ paves the way for future fruit.
- Rid the Unwanted:
Often times, weeds, animals, and other threats find their way into a garden. The gardener needs to prune and rid the space of the unwanted things that hinder growth. We must do this as well. As we spend more time as a student of the Word, the Lord will reveal things to us that we need to remove from our lives. He knows what’s best for us and our future.
- Share the Harvest:
The goal of vegetable gardening is to produce food. All the work that goes into the process renders a product that nourishes and feeds the hungry. In our own lives, we grow and mature as believers and produce fruit. That fruit nourishes us but also can be shared to feed others. Our commitment to learning through our discipleship journey benefits others as well. We help to fulfill the Great Commission as we disciple others.
I encourage you today to seek the Lord for new ways to grow in your relationship with Him. Look for new Bible study methods, find new books to read, study in community, and share what the Lord is teaching you with others. A great opportunity for growth is available in our Rise Online Women’s Conference. Check it out today and hear from several women as they share the fruit of what they have learned on their journey with Jesus. We believe we are better together and can learn and grow from each other. Our dedication to preparation and pruning will yield a great harvest for the sake of the gospel.
Whitney Davis currently serves as the National Director of Women's Ministries. She is a wife, mom, encourager, and visionary. She is a South Carolina girl who now calls Oklahoma home. She worked for 12 years as a Labor & Delivery and Mother/Baby nurse before transitioning to full-time ministry to women. Whitney grew up in the IPHC and her husband, Brad, has been an IPHC minister for over 20 years. They have a blended family of five children- Carmen, Evelyn, Sullivan, Ellington, and Deacon.
Whitney has a passion for helping women on the journey of becoming more like Jesus. She desires for Women’s Ministries to be the arm of the church that is uniquely positioned to equip women for the work of discipleship.