An Intentional Faith by Allen Jackson


Spiritual growth doesn’t happen by accident. In order to grow spiritually, you have to intend to grow. 

I love many things about summertime in Tennessee, but among my favorites are summer vegetables: tomatoes, peppers, squash, zucchini, and cucumbers. There’s just something special about the vegetables that grow in this part of the country. It’s safe to say that every single year I would love to see a bumper crop of summer vegetables in my backyard. I would love to look out my kitchen window and see a bountiful harvest ready and waiting. But simply wanting and wishing won’t make it so. Standing in front of my church and claiming a summer harvest won’t bring in the fresh vegetables. Looking out the window and praying, “Jesus, send those tomatoes!” won’t make it happen.

If I want Tennessee vegetables, I have to make a concerted effort. I have to till the ground, plant the seeds, water the garden, spray the squash, and stake up the tomatoes when they get too large to support themselves. And eventually, I’ll have to pick the vegetables, wash them, and slice them if I want to enjoy the harvest.

What’s true of growing vegetables is true of spiritual growth. We can’t stand around wanting and wishing and hoping we’ll get results. And if we’re doing things that inhibit spiritual growth, we can’t continue with the status quo and expect different results. Instead, we have to do what it takes to grow spiritually by taking intentional, conscious action. Some of those actions might be weekly (faithfully participate in church), monthly (tithing), or even moment-by-moment (cooperating with the Holy Spirit).