Faith in Action
When we told our close friends and family that we were pregnant and that we still felt called to adopt, many people thought we were crazy and cautioned us to reconsider the timing. But Ari and I held fast to an unexplainable, unwavering faith that this was God’s plan. This plan didn’t have to make sense to anyone else. We just had to have faith in what we couldn’t yet see and trust that God was going to take care of us.
Cultivating means coupling faith with action.
Out of our gratitude for His grace, we are compelled to do something about it. We often take uncharted paths, letting go, surrendering, trusting, and knowing that we don’t have to do the heavy lifting. In a sense, faith in action is a lot like working in the garden. No matter how hard I work in my garden, my efforts alone don’t force plants to grow. I do my part by carefully planting, watering, fertilizing, and pruning — and then I wait and trust that God will do His part to cause the growth.
There’s balance in the garden. Beautiful, life-giving balance. Do you know how to grow big, fluffy, beautiful peonies?
You dig into the soil, place the bulbs in the ground with some nutrients, and besides watering in the hot months… you simply wait.
You take a leap of faith — and you let God do His thing.
You trust that God will provide sun and water and the earthworms to aerate the soil. You trust that when the plant loses its greenery in winter, it’s for a reason — to let that energy go somewhere else. The bulb is smart. It knows that it needs to rest and transform and store up energy for spring. And when that bulb finally sprouts again after the frost lifts and the blooms unfurl, you get to enjoy the ruffled petals and marvel at what stepping into the dirt and trusting God can do.
So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. — 1 Corinthians 3:7 NIV
We can’t do it alone, but we have an important role to play. We plant and trust. It’s a choice we make — a combination of action (planting) and faith (trusting) — that moves the results out of our hands and into God’s.
Read Psalm 104:14. What do you learn from this verse about God’s role in the process of cultivating? What is our role?
My friend Jeane has thirty-six children: five biological and thirty-one adopted. She has her hands full! I asked what her advice is for women who are struggling to “do it all.” Her answer: “First define what your ‘all’ is. Then run from that. God does not call us to that.” You do not have to be Superwoman!
You likely have heard the popular phrase: “She believed she could, so she did.” Those words are lovely and instill confidence, but that doesn’t last. I know a deeper truth:
She believed she couldn’t, so He did.
You don’t have to make it all happen. You just have to take one step forward in faith and let Him do the rest.
Where you can’t, God already has.
In which areas of your life are you struggling to let go of control? Fill in the blanks: _________________ [your name] believed she couldn’t, but God __________________.
I believed I couldn’t possibly have the strength to adopt a baby and simultaneously trust in His plans for the life inside my belly, but God carried me. He carried all of us. This is grace. The great exchange of our weakness for His strength, our unbelief for His very real love, our inadequacy for His power, and our mess for His message.
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. — 2 Corinthians 12:9
Grace healed my marriage where there was no love remaining.
Grace set me free from shame and striving. Grace made me a gardener. Grace carried us when we didn’t have the faith or strength to walk on our own.
Abide in the Vine
In John 15, Jesus used a vivid picture of cultivating a vine to illustrate our need for Him:
I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit… Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. — John 15:1-2, John 15:4-5
A branch of a vine cannot bear fruit unless it abides in — or is in close connection with — the vine. A branch will thrive only when it is able to receive the nourishment of the vine. Likewise, we cannot bear any real, lasting fruit in our lives unless we also abide in — or maintain a close relationship with — Him.
Friend, this is a powerful truth.
We can’t grow anything good without God, and there is freedom in knowing we don’t have to grow good things on our own. And there’s freedom to take leaps of faith because we know who is lifting us up as we leap!
Excerpted with permission from Cultivate by Lara Casey, copyright Lara Casey.
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Abiding isn’t work. Abiding isn’t strenuous. Abiding isn’t worrying. Abiding is simply remaining in Him. Are you abiding today? Come share your thoughts with us on our blog! We want to hear from you about cultivating a life of faith in action. ~ Devotionals Daily
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