Learning to Follow the Son

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

This week is the official launch of Spring, although some of us are still feeling the bite of cold weather. But if it hasn’t happened yet in your neck of the woods, it will: the trees will bud and the flowers will bloom. The local nursery will be overrun with a mob of homeowners determined to turn their homes into Yard of the Month contenders.

I have a sister who lives in Minnesota where I think Spring and Sumer together last about three weeks. That’s why I visited in August. (Not exactly a trendy “coolcation” but close enough.) While there, we visited the Green Barn Sunflower Field. (You know you’re old when your vacation consists of visiting a giant field of sunflowers, and you’re excited about it.) To all my Kansas friends and readers, you can still be called the Sunflower State, but Minnesota grows a whole lot more sunflowers when they’re not growing huge mounds of snow.

What’s amazing about sunflowers is their ability to face the sun. Eighth grade science taught me that most plants have the ability to grow toward a light source. It’s called phototropism. (See, Mrs. Law? I was listening.) But sunflowers, being the little floral rebels they are, follow a different course. Sunflowers swing their heads by growing a little more on the east side of the stem during the day, which pushes the head west, but it grows a little more on the west side at night, making the sunflower’s head swing back toward the east. (For you non-science nerds, this is called heliotropism.)

What does this have to do with us? We are not sunflowers. Sunflowers may naturally follow the sun, but we do not automatically follow the Son. In fact, we do quite the opposite. Our natural inclination is toward darkness and sin rather than the light of Christ. Left to our own devises, we follow the light of our own inclinations, and that light is illusory. Call it what we want, but following our own light is deadly.

“People loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

Christians can fuss and say this doesn’t apply to them, citing the fact that they are now Christians, but I stand my ground. Even as Christ-followers, if we do not day-by-day, moment-by-moment lean on Jesus, our own inclinations will lead us into the shadows.

“There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death” (Prov. 14:12).

Paul was writing to believers when he said,

“Let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Rom. 13:12).

I’ve been a Christian a long time. I’ve been to seminary (twice), and I’ve had the opportunity to speak on behalf of Christ to countless people. I fit the definition of a mature Christian, but I know that I must still be aggressively intentional in spending time with God every day. Not for the sake of communicating with others, but to place myself under His lordship, ensuring that I am listening to and following His voice. I’m no sunflower, so I must do that which forces me to look to the Son.

My daily practice is worth it. It’s only when I look to the Son does my life and work produce anything worthwhile.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me” (John 15:5).

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Banner photo by Todd Trapani on Unsplash

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