It looked dead already, and I wasn’t sure there was any hope for it at all. As I slid the small, wilted petunia from its packaging, I noticed the lack of soil – the thin, white tangled roots barely clinging to anything. I carefully placed the knotted mess down into the hole of fresh soil I’d prepared, and packed the earth down firm around her, dousing the droopy limbs with ample water before placing her in the sun. While it didn’t appear promising at first glance, I knew if her roots took to the soil, she would make it.
There are times when my own soul has felt a lot like that wilted flower – shriveled and weak, clinging to anything that might give life: a powerful weekend sermon, an encouraging devotional or inspiring social media post. I nurse myself along with these occasional revelations from others, hoping the roots of my faith will grow on their own – all the while craving something deeper, something richer, as my whole being withers and sags around me.
Colossians 2:7 says, “Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
But how do I do that? How do I let my roots grow down into Him?
The plain and simple answer? Spend time in His Word burying seeds of truth in my heart.
But simple isn’t the same as easy, and simple doesn’t mean there aren’t any challenges. Challenges like, “Where do I find time? Where do I start? What do I read? Do I have to journal? What if I don’t understand what I read?” And SO.MANY.OTHER questions! All those obstacles kept me away from God’s Word for a long time. In fact, it wasn’t until a friend taught me the SOAP method that I ever really tried to read and apply the Bible to my life. But that simple method changed it all.
Maybe you are like me. Maybe you, too, have neglected to nurture your own soul with the truth found in God’s Word. Maybe you’re excuses mirror mine, or perhaps there is something else keeping you from starting today. But I’m praying that changes (like, seriously, I just stopped writing to pray for you!). It’s okay if you don’t know what you are reading or how to apply it, because when you ask God, He will reveal Himself in it!
Asking Him is key! As with everything, always start first with prayer. Like that little flower, our own roots need rich soil to grow deep, and for us, that means a prepared heart. Ask Holy Spirit to give you a desire to know more of Him – to help you understand His truth and apply it to your life – and trust that He will do it, even if you don’t see it immediately. Sometimes you can water a flower or plant and within a few hours it comes back to life! Reading God’s Word can be like that, but most times we don’t see the growth happening below the surface – where the truth is taking root in our hearts.
God promises that when we seek Him with our whole heart we will find Him (cf. Jeremiah 29:13), and reading our Bible has more to do with finding Him – discovering His heart for us – than following a list of disciplines and practices. Regardless of how many techniques and tools we pick up about reading our Bible, if we don’t prepare our heart to receive His Word, it will not take root to produce fruit that lasts (see Jesus’ parable of the sower in Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:4-15).
Remember, too, that real growth takes time. Trust Him, and trust the process – especially the element of time. Before too long, those little seeds of truth will begin budding into beautiful flowers of thanksgiving. Even if it takes little longer than you’d hoped, “I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns,” (Philippians 1:6, NLT).
~Kimi Miller lives in Papillion, Nebraska, with her husband and two teenage sons. She stays busy taking care of their home, their two high-strung cattle dogs, and working part-time as a secretary at the local police department. She is a United States Air Force veteran and former pastor of women’s ministry. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Communication and a Master’s degree in Christian Ministry with a concentration in theology. One of her many God-sized dreams is to organize a free city-wide women’s ministry event that spreads the love and hope only found in Jesus. Her laughter is contagious, as is her passion for the Word of God. You can read more about Kimi at her blog www.kimimiller.com.