Unfading Beauty and Strength

Christian Encouragement and Practical Tips for Ordinary Women

How to Know God

Inside: How to Know God: 5 Tips to Help You Draw Closer to God. Devotional inspired by my first tomato plant.

How to Know God
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Yellow buds jumped out at me when I went to examine my very first tomato plant. I felt like a little girl having ice cream with her daddy.

I couldn’t believe it. My first attempt at growing a real plant was a success. (And I’ve killed countless plants, including a succulent plant.)

But there it was:

  • Beautiful yellow flowers,
  • The crisp unique smell of tomatoes,
  • And a plump green horned caterpillar.

So I hollered for my family to come and see the beautiful caterpillar. In my gardening naivete, I thought the caterpillar would be beneficial to my plant’s growth.

But Then…

A quick Google search revealed what kind of caterpillar I was dealing with. And it wasn’t beautiful at all.

In fact, the Tomato Hornworm is a dreaded garden pest and can destroy a tomato plant in a New York minute.

So next, I scrambled to research how to destroy the caterpillar before my hard-earned tomatoes took a beating.

How to Know God
Image by Margaret Martin from Pixabay

Much like the caterpillar,

Beautiful things, if we are not careful, can actually destroy us.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 

1 Peter 5: 8 (NLT)

That caterpillar outside my plant would have been fine (and it was a beautiful caterpillar), but once he latched onto my plant, he became destructive. The caterpillar would not have relented until my whole beautiful tomato plant, one leaf at a time, was decimated.

I found many green plump caterpillars that year of various sizes. And I checked my tomato plant every day in painstaking deliberate detail.

In the same way,

We must remain vigilant and in God to flourish. To say we can survive without Him is like plucking a flower out of the ground and expecting it to live.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15: 5 (NLT)

We must place our roots in Jesus and examine our lives every day.

Even things that are good and gifts from God can become hazardous if we place them before Him:

  • The to-do list,
  • Our children,
  • And yes, even the sacred and popular self-care.

All those things can be good and are good and yet if we put them above God, they will destroy us, one day at a time.

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 

Colossians 1:17 (NIV)

So how do we remain in God and be in the world but not of the world?

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:2 (NIV)

How to Know God: 5 Simple Tips to Remain in God

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1. Pray for God to show us our weaknesses

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

2 Cornithians 12:9 (NLT)

As scary as this might be, our God is faithful and he will strengthen us. We just need to trust.

The freedom we receive when we trust God is so much greater than we can imagine. And the greater our weakness and dependence on God, the more he will shine, and the more we will glorify him.

Until I saw and realized my tomato plant’s weaknesses, I didn’t know how to fix them. And until we realize we can do nothing apart from God, we won’t know how to fully live in God’s freedom either.

2. Read the Bible.

Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.

Joshua 1:8 (NLT)

I feel like we are told this all the time, but I don’t think it can be said enough. In order to know God, we have to read His Word.

How will we know what he says if we don’t spend time in his Word?

In order for any relationship to thrive, you must invest in it on a consistent basis. God is no different.

In the example of my tomato plant, I could have checked on it every day, but if I hadn’t researched how to care for the plant or take care of the pest, my plant wouldn’t have survived.

And we can’t survive without God’s word. We will be like fish floundering out of water.

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3. Ask for guidance:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

James 1:15 (NIV)

God says if we ask him for wisdom, he will give it to us.

What a great gift God gives us! But if we are not willing to receive or ask for wisdom, then we are missing out on a great blessing.

In the same way, I had to be willing to seek an answer to fix my plant and even more willing to do the work.

4. End the day with reflection.

But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

James 1: 25 (NLT)

I love to read.

I read books from non-fiction to Christian to biographies to parenting and a various assortment of fiction. But many times I read something only to forget it the next minute.

It wouldn’t have been enough to just read about my tomato plant. I needed action, and I needed to continually evaluate my plant to see if it was growing.

In the same way, it’s not enough to just read the Word and walk away. We must put the words into action.

Of course, We are going to make mistakes.

We may:

  • Forget to read the Bible,
  • Yell at our kids for leaving dirty shoes in our way,
  • Or cut off the jerk who cut you off first.

But like I tell my children after they’ve had a rough day of bad choices,

Every day is a new day. And every day we get to make new choices.

As James Clear, author of Atomic Habits states, Let’s choose to be 1% better every day.

5. And finally, Repeat.

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

1 Corinthians 15:58 (NLT)

We will not do any of the above steps perfectly or consistently. Just like any plant we take care of, we have to check our spiritual life on a consistent daily basis.

As the adage goes, repetition is the key to learning.

What choice will you make?

We need God every day. How will you choose to know God?

Just as a tomato plant needs sunshine every day, God should be like the air we breathe every day.

And much like any plant that goes a bit too long without care, our spiritual lives will begin to wither without daily care.

I managed to save my tomato plant that year. And the tomatoes were delicious.

I could’ve given up and my plant would have died and I would’ve just continued to buy tomatoes at the store.

But the joy I received from that plant was so much more after I cared for it every day. And those tomatoes were some of the best tomatoes I’ve ever had.

That’s what spending time with God every day will do for you.

The more we care for our relationship with God, the more it grows, the more beautiful and delicious it becomes, and the more we know and want to know about God.

How will you care for your relationship with God today?

As always, Thanks for reading. And if you enjoyed this post, I would appreciate your shares on social media.

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4 thoughts on “How to Know God: 5 Tips Learned From My First Tomato Plant

  1. Wowwwww! What a great way to look at things regarding our relationship with God and to keep the faith!!

  2. Beautiful post and wonderful reminder to be persistent in our relationship with God. Thank you for the post.

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