I want so desperately to have a green thumb! I am filled with anticipation and hope whenever I bring home a little vegetable seedling or a new houseplant. I wait expectantly over the next few days to weeks, carefully watering, ensuring it’s getting adequate sunshine, etc. But no matter how faithfully I feel I have tended to the plant under my care, inevitably, I will notice the telltale yellow then brown leaves. I research what I’m doing wrong—overwatering, underwatering, disease, and bug infestation. But I am at a loss on how to acquire this supernatural ability to keep green things green. I consider the process to be miraculous. Only God can make it happen; I have clearly demonstrated I can’t.

My latest attempt was a tomato plant that died a slow, painful death. I harvested one tiny, golf ball-sized tomato before it gave up the ghost. As I pulled the failed plant from the soil, I noticed the roots were short, thin, and dry. The seeds had never gotten established like they should have been, so it was just a matter of time before the roots shriveled up and died.

In Ephesians 3:16-20, Paul stated, “I pray that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (NKJV).


To produce fruit, we have to be rooted and grounded in the love of God. Strong, healthy roots will bring the needed nutrients and water to the plant so it can yield its harvest.

How do we establish strong roots so we can grow spiritually? In Colossians, Paul instructs us on how to establish a firm foundation. “I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is. So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:4-8, NIV).

This is why reading, studying, and meditating on God’s Word are essential. Otherwise, we may be deceived by worldly philosophies that sound so good to our carnal minds but are not based on Scripture. Philosophies that will make us captive to the spiritual forces of this world. It won’t be long before our roots become unhealthy and our fruit withers and dies. If we’re not growing, we’re dying! But, if we are strengthened in the faith by following what we have been taught and learned from the Word of God, we will grow strong and become fruitful.

The very first Psalm declares, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;  but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers” (Psalm 1:1-3, ESV). If we follow earthly counsel, our roots will wither and die. But if we meditate, study, and delight in God’s Word, we will be like a tree planted by streams of water—productive and fruitful.


Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV) states, “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”  No matter what season we may be in, even when it seems we are going through a drought, if we are planted in the right place, rooted and grounded in Him, we will be able to prosper without fear and continue to bear fruit. Ecclesiastes tells us that He has made everything beautiful in its time. To everything, there is a season and a time for every purpose under Heaven.

There have been many times when I have walked through a dry season. My prayers seem to hit the ceiling and echo back at me. Maybe you have experienced those times as well. It can make us feel parched, desperate for rain, without a cloud in sight. But if we make sure we are attached as branches to the vine as instructed in John 15 with our roots deeply planted in love and God’s Word, we will make it through the season and reap a great harvest! Apart from God, we can do nothing. We will wither and die. We have to abide in Him, and His Word has to abide in us. John 15:16 NIV says it beautifully,” You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.”

I may never become a master gardener, but I am so glad the Master has chosen me!


Shelly Stringfellow is the blessed wife of one husband, Roy, for the past 38 years, proud mother of two exceptional adult children, Candace and Jordan, and Mimi, to the two cutest grandbabies ever, Ellainya and Selah. She loves reading and writing but is not a fan of ‘rithmetic! She attends Lighthouse Church in Princeton, Texas, where her son-in-law and daughter pastor.

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