Planted: Place in the ground so that it can grow, bury, position oneself, establish in one’s mind.
The word “planted” conjures up a lot of beautiful images – colorful flowers, fields of fresh plants bursting with life and fruit, strong and sturdy trees. I can imagine their roots going deep and think about the tiny seeds that were planted to produce them a long time ago.
But the actual planting? It’s not a fun to think about. Because it’s messy. Dirty. Painful. It requires a few things I typically avoid: dirt and digging.
The soil has to be pierced, punctured and moved around to make an open space. The digging that happens is a process of stabbing the earth and uprooting what once was calm and still. The hole that’s created is (for a short time) barren and exposed. Then after the seed is laid in the dirt, it’s covered up, pounded, rearranged.
Planting is hard. It requires the right conditions, the proper preparation, the correct tools. If we don’t give the planted seeds the right attention or care, they will not grow. And friends, the same is true for our hearts as well-watered women.
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. Colossians 2:6-7
I love this verse in Colossians because I want to be established and overflowing! Yes, please, sign me up! But see what has to happen first? We must be firmly rooted. We must dig in our roots, deep into the ground of God’s Word. And you know what? It’s hard sometimes.
When we talk about being planted as women of the Word, we are talking about the daily process of digging into the Lord through spiritual disciplines. Each discipline is like a part of the planting process. But these disciplines, this process of being planted near Jesus – it can be hard work. It will be sanctifying, humbling and challenging at times. But Scripture promises us that the fruit that comes from the Lord far exceeds the difficult process of being planted.
See, before we can plant anything, we have to assess the condition of our heart. This is like a soil check. Is the “soil” of my heart nutrient-deprived and lacking the grace of the gospel? When I survey my life, does it look like a good place for the kingdom to dwell, or does it need some new, fresh soil? This is the first step – to admit our need and ask for grace to take root in our hearts.
Once we’ve determined our need for the gospel, the actual digging has to take place. The piercing process of striking the ground looks like confession of sin, repentance of habits that aren’t pleasing to Jesus. It can be a hurtful process, because it requires moving around the pieces that were comfortably hidden in the darkness. Admitting our sin and need aloud can leave us feeling exposed and cold, ashamed in the dark. But that’s where we get to start filling the ground of our heart with the nutrient-rich soil of scripture. With the grace of the Lord and power of the Holy Spirit, we can speak truth to our hearts instead of listening to our feelings. We can believe the promises of God, even before we see them come to fruition. This is what hope looks like!
Then the seed gets placed – which looks like daily bible study, meditation, prayer. This is the goodness of Christ being placed in our hearts! Those gospel seeds begin to take root. As the new and healthy soil covers us back up and nestles in, we will be in need of water and sunshine that are required for growth. The disciplines of worship, fasting, obedience and prayer serve as these daily nourishments. Each day is a new opportunity to be watered, fed and nourished by spending time with the Lord. We can think of these daily practices as investments in the future fruit.
And for awhile, we may not see much happening above the soil. It can be discouraging and excruciating waiting for your seeds to grow! But, that doesn’t mean that growth isn’t taking place underneath! When our hearts become fixed on the Lord and the power of the Holy Spirit begins transforming us on the inside, it’s only a matter of time before the fruit of Spirit will overflow in our hearts. This looks like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (see Galatians 5).
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1:1-3
Scripture tells us that when we plant ourselves near the well – the living water that is Jesus – we will flourish like the tree planted by a stream of water. We will begin to see fruit and strong, healthy, fresh leaves. We prosper in the disciplines of joy, obedience, giving, fellowship. We start to see these practices overflowing as a result of that painful planting that took place. And our lives are never the same!
This is our prayer as a community of well-watered women: to plant ourselves close to the only source of life that never runs dry and come daily to receive our portion in Christ.