Earlier this year, I decided to do a brave thing and get a…plant. It’s a brave thing for me because I have killed a plant before, and I figured my thumb was black from this experience. Even with my self-proclaimed “black thumbness,” I still decided to push past the fear of killing another plant and ventured out to buy a Monstera Deliciosa. This plant grows so fast that it makes me feel like my thumb has turned from black to light green in a matter of months.
As I watch the many stages of plant growth, it never ceases to amaze me how God has designed it all. We begin with a tiny seed that we plant in rich soil. With the right amount of water, sunshine, and a little TLC, any indoor plant can flourish.
Now, I haven’t been on my plant journey for long, but one thing I have learned is that a plant needs a large enough pot for maximum growth. This is the case because the plants’ roots will not have enough space to stretch out inside the pot. The roots will start to wrap around themselves, and the plant will suffer from being “rootbound.” When this occurs, the growth of the plant can be severely stunted. In extreme cases, the plant can eventually wither and die if the owner doesn’t repot it into a bigger container conducive for optimal growth.
“The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.” Psalm 92:12-15
In this psalm, the psalmist compares the righteous to a tree and says if they plant themselves in the house of the Lord, they will flourish. The psalmist uses beautiful imagery in this psalm to paint a picture of what the righteous can be if they are planted in the right environment.
The right environment or “soil,” if you will, for the righteous is the house of God. When we are planted in God’s house, we will fourish in his courts. The psalmist was referring to the temple of the Lord back in those days, but the house of God for us now would be the local church.
If we look at the definition of flourish, we will find it simply means growing or developing in a healthy or vigorous way. I believe one can grow as a believer without being planted in the local church, but it may not be healthy growth. Being planted in God’s house gives you an environment that allows the following to take place:
- Opportunities to grow in the Lord
- Revelation of who God is
- Opportunities to grow in relationships
- Letting walls down
- Overlooking offenses
- Navigating hard conversations
This list is not exhaustive and only names a few practical benefits of being planted in a local church. Regardless, it is still amazing how choosing to plant yourself in the house of the Lord produces such vigorous growth. The enemy knows this, and I believe this is why so many saints are self-proclaimed lone rangers. Being a part of a community inside the local church challenges us in so many areas. People run from being challenged, and it is a real travesty. A believer who runs from the local church due to hurt, or the saint who comes each week out of mere tradition, both are not planted in God’s house. They may have the ability to grow, but their growth will be severely limited and average at best. The truth of the matter is, we need the rest of the body to flourish in this life.
What does being planted look like?
A believer can say, “well, I go to church each week, so I’m planted, right? But why am I not seeing this vigorous growth you speak of?” To that, I would say, going to church and being planted are two different things. Just going to church could look like coming to church and sitting in the congregation hoping to receive a word. Being planted can look like us serving in some capacity at our church. If I’m just coming to church, I can be easily disengaged when it comes to corporate worship, but when we plant ourselves, we gather to participate in corporate worship. A planted saint gathers with the local church to be poured into and to pour out into others the gifts the Lord has given to them. A churchgoer would be uninterested in investing in other people. When we are planted, we seek to build healthy relationships and participate in being discipled as well as discipling others. The planted saint is active, engaged, and committed to their local church because they are committed to God.
Being planted also looks like flourishing. Our flourishing, however, is not limited to just our relationship with Christ; it extends to every area of our lives. We will flourish mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and relationally. Being planted allows us to bear fruit at every stage of life, even in our old age. The scripture says we are ever FULL of sap and green. The Lord brings about our vitality even as we age because we plant ourselves in him and in his house.
Let’s Get Planted
If you have not planted yourself in a local Body due to church hurt, please know the Lord can heal wounds you received at the hands of a brother/sister in Christ. I’m not promising that you will never feel pain again if you connect yourself to a church. I am joining in with the psalmist to declare that you will receive a growth that you wouldn’t receive outside his courts.
For those who are content with going to church to check it off a list, I challenge you to get planted and participate in the give and take of true community found in a local body.
The enemy knows the power of being planted. It’s time for us as believers to know the power of it too. Let’s allow ourselves to be planted and flourish in the courts of our God.
- If you consider yourself to be planted in the Lord’s house, can you attest to flourishing before the Lord in your local community of believers? How has the Lord used other believers to help you grow healthily?
- If you are not planted in a local church, what are some things that hinder this from taking place? What steps could you take to move closer to allowing yourself to be planted in the Lord’s house?