This has been an unusual winter for us.

One day it’s an unexpected 70º high. Two days later it’s snowing again.

It’s been a mess for the trees. Every time they think “Spring is here!” and begin to bud, the weather turns cold again and freezes their little buds right off.

Kermit was right. It isn’t easy being green.

Some trees and plants handle temperature swings pretty well. Others not so much. Sometimes things get transplanted that were amazing in one environment, but that can’t handle anything different. Like our Wyoming weather. It isn’t the plant’s fault, they’re simply outside their natural environment.

It’s a huge deal for palm trees.

In their native environments (and depending on the species) palm trees can grow as fast as six feet a year. Or withstand hurricane force winds. Or survive snow and freezing temperatures. Or grow to nearly 200 feet tall. Or germinate fifty-pound seeds.

But outside their native environment they struggle and fall short.

What is the native environment of a child of God? Two thoughts for today:

Great blessings belong to those who don’t listen to evil advice, who don’t live like sinners, and who don’t join those who make fun of God. Instead, they love the Lord’s teachings and think about them day and night. So they grow strong, like a tree planted by a stream—a tree that produces fruit when it should and has leaves that never fall. Everything they do is successful.

Psalm 1:1-3, ERV

Different bible translations refer to “the Lord’s teachings” as “the Law of the Lord” or “the Lord’s instruction” or “the teaching of the Lord” or “the Lord’s commands”.

Secondly, this:

Righteous people are like budding palm trees. They grow strong like the cedar trees of Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord. They grow strong there in the courtyards of our God. Even when they are old, they will continue producing fruit like young, healthy trees. They are there to show everyone that the Lord is good. He is our Rock, and he does no wrong.

Psalm 92:12-15, ERV

To put it another way, our native environment is immersed in God’s Word, dwelling in God’s house, and living in God’s righteousness.

That’s why we invest time in reading Scripture. That’s why we gather with God’s people in church and small groups and other places. That’s why we participate in discipleship and grow in Christlikeness.

It’s where we thrive. It’s our true home.

Today, take stock. Look at your life through a lens of what you might imagine THRIVING as a Christian would look like.

Consider where you’re at in each of these three areas: Getting into God’s Word, gathering with God’s people, and growing in God’s likeness.

And pick one to jump start. Perhaps something as simple as reading some additional scripture today. Or have a conversation with someone about what God is doing in each of your lives—even if it’s an honest “not much” or “it feels like He doesn’t care”. Or pick one area in your life to move the needle on and become more like Christ.

By definition, sustained growth doesn’t happen overnight. But we can start planting seeds and taking root in our own native environment at any time. 

And today is a great day to plant a seed.

That’s worship.

–Pastor Steve.