Six weeks ago today we planted grass seed in our front yard. My husband worked hard to prepare the soil and roll it flat. We scattered the seed and covered it with peat moss to protect it. The forecast called for partly sunny and partly rainy weather, perfect for growing grass seed.
But then the rains came, breaking records for May and June in the Portland area. There were days when it simply poured, and we saw very little sun. Some of the grass seed was washed into my driveway. After three weeks of rain, the weather report came that we were going to have seven days of no rain, so we scattered some additional seed in the rivulets of bare dirt hoping it would take root and fill in those spots. But then it rained and hailed for the next three days and all of that extra seed was washed into my driveway.
We now have grass growing in most of the front yard, and if you view it as you come up the hill towards our house it looks pretty good. But as you stand on the front porch it is clear that although there is grass growing, it is a bit sparse and there are a lot of unsprouted seeds throughout the yard. It is green but not thick enough to look like it would withstand a person walking across the lawn.
Looking at the “lawn” this morning got me thinking about the seeds of faith that have been sown in families and in churches over the years. There are certainly a number that have sprouted and grown, but there are just as many that seem to have drowned and failed to sprout, or have been washed away. In the case of my lawn, it was too much water and not enough sun that caused many seeds to not sprout. If I had planted in August and failed to water the lawn, I suspect a similar result would have occurred, but for a different reason. The seeds would have dried up and failed to sprout.
What is it that causes seeds of faith to not sprout and grow?
Often seeds of faith are drowned by legalism, drowned in the idea that we must earn our own salvation. The heavy burden of following every rule of the law leads to hopelessness and fear of never being good enough. The truth of what is sin in the eyes of God overshadows the grace of the gospel of Christ’s redeeming love; there is no balance between Truth and Love and faith is drowned.
Other times seeds of faith are dried up by tolerance disguised as love. There is no truth, which comes to us from the Holy Spirit, to provide the understanding of the gospel. The gospel of grace and mercy that are necessary for faith to grow are deemed unnecessary as all behavior and ideas are accepted as normal and acceptable. There is no balance between Love and Truth and faith is dried up.
For seeds of faith to grow we must know the Truth of our sinfulness and accept the Love of Christ that redeems us. The two must be balanced in the hearts of men and women for faith to sprout. Then those sprouts of faith must be nourished with the Word of God for them to flourish and grow strong. The apostle Paul stated the necessary balance perfectly in his letters to the churches in Rome and Ephesus:
But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:21-24.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9.
In our society today, and even in some of our churches, the two necessary ingredients for faith to grow have become out of balance. Legalism and unfettered Grace abound. Jesus become unnecessary to many because they either believe they can earn their own salvation or that they are not in need of a savior. To these lost ones, Jesus answers, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6.
What is the means by which we can obtain a balance of Truth and Love so that our faith might sprout and grow? By being grounded in the Word of God, the whole Word.
There is a great song by the O.C. Supertones called Grounded. It’s kind of a hip hop song, which is not usually my favorite type of music. But I love the boldness of the lyrics. The chorus is great, and the final verse is my favorite:
Grounded by O.C. Supertones
How will you stand
if you don’t understand?
Fight like a man, scriptures in hand.
Kids in universities,
drowning in an ocean
of apostate philosophy.
We need apologetic instruction,
to halt the mass abduction.
has been scandalized.
Wisdom and truth
have been vandalized,
by the unevangelized.
No truth in a world
Expose the lies
no matter how they’re disguised.
That we must or can earn our own salvation, or that we don’t need saving, are lies. Those who teach these doctrines in the name of Christianity are guilty of apostasy. They have abandoned the core tenants of the Christian faith. This made me realize how important it is to teach the balance of Truth and Love, the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ, to my own son and to share it with my family and friends. Those of us in whom the seeds of faith of sprouted and grown must provide both water and sunlight to help the seeds of faith grow in those whom God puts in our path.
Perhaps if we can keep showering Truth and Love in perfect balance through the Word of God on the seeds of faith around us, the “lawn” of believers that make up the Church will grow full and strong.