Matthew 6:28 Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin…
When you look out at a field of lilies in the highway median or in a field, they don’t do anything. God takes care of them. They receive rain and sunshine. They sit in soil. The lilies don’t fret about wind or rain. Neither do they worry about the sun. Lilies are also unconcerned about how they look.
Yet, they are beautiful nonetheless.
When we read the passage in Matthew 6:28, we see that the lilies toil not.
The basic definition of toil is to work strenuously, with great difficulty or painful progress.
Yet, I found another rather intriguing definition of toil. It also means to struggle, to confuse, to entrap or entangle; a snare.
I have spent many countless days toiling. Toiling in my emotions. Toiling in my mind by running my problem over and over again in my head. Toiling by entertaining every vain imagination that could go wrong. Toiling over my own lack of progress and growth in certain areas no matter how hard I have tried.
This creates struggles, entanglements, snares and confusions.
And we know that God is not the author of confusion! (1 Cor. 14:33)
Going back to the lilies….neither do they spin. Within the context of this scripture, it means that lilies don’t have to spin cloth for clothing. However, when I looked up spin, I found another interesting definition.
Spin: to rotate rapidly or whirl; state of mental confusion; to expend effort with no result.
When we allow our minds to run rampant…
When we fail to renew our minds with the Word of God…
When we feed our fears instead of feeding our faith…
When we allow our thinking to spin out of control, we will often find ourselves in a position where we are constantly moving and doing but no tangible results. We are starting, stopping and falling off the wagon. We lose focus. We stumble and sin. We jump out on impulse and emotions but when it gets hard we question God. We get caught up in comparing and looking at what someone else is doing and trying hard to grow to where we think we should be.
Back to the lilies. They toil not. Neither do they spin.
Are you tired of toiling and spinning? Do you feel like you are not growing no matter how many books you read, how much knowledge you have, how many conferences, courses, webinars, etc. you have taken?
Are you worn out trying to make things happen? Are you worried that you will never “arrive”? Does it appear that EVERYONE else has it going on and are moving forward in their lives and here you sit still stuck in the same old spot?
Remember, that you are only looking at the highlight reels of people’s lives on Facebook and Instagram. Not the behind-the-scenes footage where it’s not so pretty. Never, ever compare your life to someone else’s. According to 2 Corinthians 10:12, it’s not very wise…but I digress!
Here it is. The Secret to your personal, spiritual, career, calling, relationship growth is contained in this one verse of scripture:
1 Corinthians 3: 6-7. I planted, Apollos watered, but God [all the while] was causing the growth. 7 So neither is the one who plants nor the one who waters anything, but [only] God who causes the growth.
Growth is of God – not our efforts. Our responsibility is to believe, trust and obey. I had to learn and am still learning to stop trying to force growth in ANY area of my life.
I am NOT to attempt in my own efforts to force: my sons to mature and grow, my purpose or calling to grow, my relationship to grow, or even for my own personal growth as a woman.
This boils down to two simple equations:
Fear + Flesh (me without God) = Toiling & Spinning
God + Faith = Growth & Peace
Now, I am not saying that we do nothing — far from it!
We are called to work. We are to work out our own soul salvation according to Philippians 2:12. We are called to work as inspired by God and activated from a place of FAITH not some underlying FEAR deep on the inside that we are unaware of.
As believers, there are 3 works we are called to do:
- Use the power of free will choice to believe in God and live His way.
- Choose to daily renew our minds in the Word and in prayer. This changes our heart and heals our emotions.
- Obey what God says in His Word and by taking inspired action steps as He leads.
Our part is to protect and renew our minds. Our part is to make the free will choice to feed our spirit instead of our flesh. When we do this our faith and ability to move with inspired action will become stronger and the work we do will be effective and make a difference.
When we do our work as outlined above, growth is inevitable. When we do these things, the fruit of the Spirit –love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, will grow (Gal. 5: 22-23). We don’t have to fake it. We don’t have to force fruit. The fruit will mature as we stay connected to the Christ and abide or grow in Him (John 15:5).
When we do our part, increase will manifest in all areas of our lives. The saying is true – the way you show up in one area of your life will spill over into all of the other areas of your life. When you make the intentional choice to do the internal work God calls us to do, the impact will carry over into all areas, not just the spiritual side.
Paul reminds us in Philippians 2:13 that it is God which worketh in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Prior to that scripture, Paul states that we are to be CONFIDENT that God has begun a good work in us and that HE will perform it.
So at the end of the day, it is God working and God performing in us as we cooperate and allow Him to do so by virtue of our free will choices.
Remember this – everything God created grows.
If it is not growing, then it is slowly dying. He died that we might have LIFE and have it more abundantly.
We were not created to live small, limited, and fearful lives. We were created to rule and govern in the earth with authority. We were created to expand, to evolve, to grow and increase.
When we look at nature, it is forever growing and changing with the seasons. Animals instinctively do what they need in order to procreate, stay alive and grow. We are part of His creation. We are His children created in His likeness and image.
We are designed with the desire and capacity for increase, abundance, expansion and full expression of who we are without fear. He gave us Power, Love and a Sound Mind to do so.
When I assess my various situations and wonder why things seem small or are not growing, then I must look within.
When I find myself toiling and spinning, I must look within.
I encourage you to do the same. Are you working in your own efforts? Are you doing the 3 things above and allowing God to work in you? Where are you today? Stop the toiling and the spinning. Remember Who You Are in Christ. Make a choice to today to allow God to work in you to grow your life. Consider the lilies, they toil not, neither should you!
Until Next time
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