If you had a garden full of tomatoes and said to me, “my tomato’s did terrible this year, I didn’t get a single tomato!” So I volunteer to look at your tomato’s and see if I can offer any advice. When I look at the dozen plants they are all brown, shriveled, and dead, and I say, “You have to water them if you want them to grow and have tomatoes!” Your response is, “I did, I watered them when I planted them and again 2 weeks later”! My response is” that is not nearly enough” thinking to myself, “is this person really that naive?
A major part of living the Christian life is nurturing your own soul by being faithful to the basic disciplines of the Christian life such as prayer, Bible reading, and gathering with other believers. Many Followers of Jesus aren’t doing very well at growing and maturing in their character, and I find out as I visit that they do pray, read their Bibles and get together with other Christ followers, but not nearly enough.
So how do you know if you are watering your tomato plant enough? It is green, growing, and bearing fruit, that is what tomato plants do if they are healthy. How do you know if you are praying enough, reading your Bible enough and the other disciplines. That is easy, you are green (there is life, passion, and energy in you), you are growing, and you are bearing fruit.
I talk to parents who have problem kids and they will say, among other things, “I prayed for them”. I think to myself, I wonder how much, there needs to be a lot.
The difference between successfully living the Christian life or not, between raising healthy kids or not, having a great marriage or a bad one, is usually just “not enough” of what it takes to succeed in these areas of our life. We are dumb or naive about this basic principle, “you have to water the tomato’s plants or they won’t have tomato’s“. It is as simple as that. We, as people, are into token amounts so that we can say that we did it, but token amounts won’t do much.