Recently, I’ve been reading about the life of Elizabeth Elliot. In case you’re unfamiliar with her story, she and her husband Jim went into the jungles of Ecuador to reach an unreached violent people group with the gospel. Her husband Jim was killed – speared to death by the Waodani Indians. After a time of grieving Elizabeth along with her toddler daughter, Valerie moved into the village to live among the Indians who had murdered her husband. That was a gutsy move – don’t you think? Elizabeth went on to speak and encourage believers all over the world. Where does that type of confident faith come from? I’m convinced that the power of Elizabeth’s public life came from the practices she developed in her private life. As I’ve been thinking about it, I realize it goes back to a parable that Jesus told in Mark 4.
Jesus used an illustration of a man who scattered seeds. He then went on to teach, “Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how” (Mark 4:27). This is the wonder of seeds planted. As you plant seeds of faith in your private life, the Holy Spirit causes those seeds to grow, even while you rest. As I’ve been meditating on these verses, I’ve been thinking a lot about the seeds. The seeds are tiny, yet when faithfully sown in the secret place, they reap a large harvest.
What type of seeds of faith need to be planted in your private life so that when the storms of life come, your faith continues growing?
The Seed of Gratitude. I firmly believe that praise and thanksgiving need to be a part of our everyday walk with God. He is worthy to be praised. As you cultivate a continual conversation of praise and thanksgiving in your private walk, your public walk will reflect a heart of joy. It’s not that you won’t grieve losses. Grieving has an honored place in the life of the believer. You’ll grieve, but the losses of life won’t overwhelm or uproot your deep faith in the goodness of God. Don’t just say thank you for the gifts – worship the Giver of the gifts. Begin your day by praising God for His love and end your day by thanking Him for His faithfulness. Over time, as you plant the seed of gratitude, your faith will grow into a harvest of holy confidence.
The Seed of Surrender. Every day we must deliberately bow our will to God’s. The journey of following Jesus is a call to die. As we die to our own ambitions, we are resurrected to the dreams and desires of God. The Apostle Paul wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Does this mean that our desires and dreams are wrong? Absolutely not. Our dreams and desires are often planted in our souls by God. However, every dream and desire must bow to the will of God.
The Seed of His Word. Friend, the truth is, if your faith is going to remain strong over the long haul, you need God’s Word planted in your heart. Read it every day. Even if you have young children, spend a few minutes in the scriptures every day. Don’t just read for information, read for transformation. When you faithfully sow the Word of God into your life by reading and memorizing scripture, you plant seeds of faith that will eventually reap a harvest of holy confidence.
The Seed of Silent Prayer. Learn to live in constant conversation with the Lord. Whether you’re folding laundry or helping with homework, in the privacy of your own soul carry on the conversation with the Lord. Whether you’re in your office at work or working on your computer at home, keep the dialogue going with the Lord. Ask for wisdom and thank Him for answering. Tell Him you love Him and thank Him for His love. By sowing seeds of continual prayer, you will become more attentive to the presence of God and your ears will learn to listen for His voice.
Friend, I believe as you plant these seeds in the secret place, you will grow a harvest of faith that will sustain you in the public place.