Boys, make-up, and getting along with your friends are really important to me. But even more important—for today and for eternity—is your relationship with God. Do you know how much God loves you? Do you love Him in return—with your entire life?

If you’ve never given your heart completely to God—if you’ve never repented and asked God to be the King of your life—please take some time to check out www.knowingGod.net. It’s time to stop running from God and start running to Him instead!

“The seeds that fell on the footpath represent those who hear the message, only to have the devil come and take it away from their hearts and prevent them from believing and being saved.” Luke 8:12

Satan, God’s enemy, wants to do all he can to keep the seed of God’s word from sprouting in your heart. Satan knows that if he can snatch that seed before it even begins to sprout into a plant, his work is done—easy-peasy-pumpkin-pie. So how does Satan try to “prevent [us] from believing”? Doubt. Opposition from people we care about. More doubt.

If you want to see your faith grow, the first step is to give it a fighting chance. It’s okay to have doubts—don’t get me wrong—but we have to fight for faith. We have to keep looking for answers to those doubts, in the Bible and by asking other mature Christians.

“The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they believe for a while, then they fall away when they face temptation.” Luke 8:13

Let’s imagine that you’ve guarded your faith from Satan, and that seed has finally begun to grow into a little plant. The danger isn’t over yet, though. Now that growing plant needs some TLC! It needs sunshine and plenty of water. For a plant to get enough moisture during the heat of summer, it has to have deep roots.

What do you think it means to have “deep roots” in God? What kind of “moisture” do we need so that we can make it through the long, hot summers of life?

Jesus said that He would give living water to those who believed on Him, and “those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life” (John 4:14). Later in John, Jesus shouted out to the crowds, “Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart'” (John 7:38). The next verse tells us that the “living water” Jesus promised was the Holy Spirit, whom God would send once Jesus rose from the dead.

So if Jesus gives living water to those who believe, and that water is the Holy Spirit, then we are already connected to the source of moisture we need to grow! Our job is just to saturate ourselves in Jesus—through prayer, reading our Bibles and obeying God’s commands—and let the Spirit do His work of nourishing our roots.

Don’t let the simplicity of the game plan fool you, though. Prayer, reading God’s Word and following God’s commands sounds simple, but if you’ve tried it, you know that it takes a lot of work! I’m going to be straight with you: If you want to go deeper with God, it’s going to take commitment on your part. Great relationships take work, and ours with God is no exception!

You can find tips on where to start reading your Bible, how to pray, and how to start obeying God’s commands in the “God” Q&A category.

“The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity.” Luke 8:14

Can I be honest with you? I think this is the biggest trap for American Christians (teens and adults!). We believe that God exists. We know that Jesus is the way to salvation, and many of us even know a whole lot about God’s Word. We want to grow in our faith but we’re so… busy. The insanely beautiful love story—that the God of the universe chooses us to be His bride—gets drowned out by text messages, basketball practice, boyfriends, shopping, homework, Facebook, saving up for a car, choosing a college, and dreaming of being the next American Idol. The message is crowded out—our faith is crowded out—by all our crazy business. If we don’t stop living this way, Jesus predicted that we’ll never grow into maturity.

So what do we do? Obviously we live in a culture where we can’t be monk-ish and hide out and pray and read our Bible all day, right? So how do we find a balance in our schedule? How do we make room for the most important One in life—God?

Maybe it’s time to start pulling out some of those weeds to make space in our lives. What could you cut back on (or eliminate all together) to make God number one? Computer or phone time? TV? Shopping? A relationship? Maybe it means you need to go to bed earlier so you can get up before school to read your Bible? Just some ideas to get you started. Ultimately the decisions are yours to make.

“And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.” Luke 8:15

In the first three examples (the seed the bird snatched, the dry soil and the rocky soil) Jesus showed us what not to do. But in the final example—the good soil—Jesus lets us in on the secret of a thriving faith that goes the distance. If we want our faith to grow, we have to be good soil. Our hearts are the secret ingredient to a healthy, mature faith. Look at Luke 8:15 again. Our hearts have to be the type that “cling to” God’s Word and “patiently produce” a harvest. Is that the type of heart you have? Or do you need to do some spiritual cleaning up? Can you say like King David,

I rise early, before the sun is up;

I cry out for help and put my hope in your words.

I stay awake through the night,

thinking about your promise.

In your faithful love, O Lord, hear my cry;

let me be revived by following your regulations.

Psalm 119:147-149

That’s the kind of heart soil God wants us to have! He knows we’re not perfect; we never will be. But we’re on the right track when we’re willing to sacrifice (precious!) sleep just to get into His Word… when we’re daydreaming about God instead of our latest crush… when we feel revived by following God’s rules for our lives.

Challenging stuff, huh? Yeah, for me too. But I can tell you this, sis—there is nothing in this world that will satisfy like a healthy relationship with your God! He is worth the hard work it takes to keep Satan at bay, to keep that soil moist with Living Water, to keep those weeds of business from growing, and to cultivate a rich heart soil just right for growing faith.

+ 1. A Chance

“The seeds that fell on the footpath represent those who hear the message, only to have the devil come and take it away from their hearts and prevent them from believing and being saved.” Luke 8:12

Satan, God’s enemy, wants to do all he can to keep the seed of God’s word from sprouting in your heart. Satan knows that if he can snatch that seed before it even begins to sprout into a plant, his work is done—easy-peasy-pumpkin-pie. So how does Satan try to “prevent [us] from believing”? Doubt. Opposition from people we care about. More doubt.

If you want to see your faith grow, the first step is to give it a fighting chance. It’s okay to have doubts—don’t get me wrong—but we have to fight for faith. We have to keep looking for answers to those doubts, in the Bible and by asking other mature Christians.

+ 2. Moisture

“The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they believe for a while, then they fall away when they face temptation.” Luke 8:13

Let’s imagine that you’ve guarded your faith from Satan, and that seed has finally begun to grow into a little plant. The danger isn’t over yet, though. Now that growing plant needs some TLC! It needs sunshine and plenty of water. For a plant to get enough moisture during the heat of summer, it has to have deep roots.

What do you think it means to have “deep roots” in God? What kind of “moisture” do we need so that we can make it through the long, hot summers of life?

Jesus said that He would give living water to those who believed on Him, and “those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life” (John 4:14). Later in John, Jesus shouted out to the crowds, “Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart'” (John 7:38). The next verse tells us that the “living water” Jesus promised was the Holy Spirit, whom God would send once Jesus rose from the dead.

So if Jesus gives living water to those who believe, and that water is the Holy Spirit, then we are already connected to the source of moisture we need to grow! Our job is just to saturate ourselves in Jesus—through prayer, reading our Bibles and obeying God’s commands—and let the Spirit do His work of nourishing our roots.

Don’t let the simplicity of the game plan fool you, though. Prayer, reading God’s Word and following God’s commands sounds simple, but if you’ve tried it, you know that it takes a lot of work! I’m going to be straight with you: If you want to go deeper with God, it’s going to take commitment on your part. Great relationships take work, and ours with God is no exception!

You can find tips on where to start reading your Bible, how to pray, and how to start obeying God’s commands in the “God” Q&A category.

+ 3. Space to Grow

“The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity.” Luke 8:14

Can I be honest with you? I think this is the biggest trap for American Christians (teens and adults!). We believe that God exists. We know that Jesus is the way to salvation, and many of us even know a whole lot about God’s Word. We want to grow in our faith but we’re so… busy. The insanely beautiful love story—that the God of the universe chooses us to be His bride—gets drowned out by text messages, basketball practice, boyfriends, shopping, homework, Facebook, saving up for a car, choosing a college, and dreaming of being the next American Idol. The message is crowded out—our faith is crowded out—by all our crazy business. If we don’t stop living this way, Jesus predicted that we’ll never grow into maturity.

So what do we do? Obviously we live in a culture where we can’t be monk-ish and hide out and pray and read our Bible all day, right? So how do we find a balance in our schedule? How do we make room for the most important One in life—God?

Maybe it’s time to start pulling out some of those weeds to make space in our lives. What could you cut back on (or eliminate all together) to make God number one? Computer or phone time? TV? Shopping? A relationship? Maybe it means you need to go to bed earlier so you can get up before school to read your Bible? Just some ideas to get you started. Ultimately the decisions are yours to make.

+ 4. Good Soil

“And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.” Luke 8:15

In the first three examples (the seed the bird snatched, the dry soil and the rocky soil) Jesus showed us what not to do. But in the final example—the good soil—Jesus lets us in on the secret of a thriving faith that goes the distance. If we want our faith to grow, we have to be good soil. Our hearts are the secret ingredient to a healthy, mature faith. Look at Luke 8:15 again. Our hearts have to be the type that “cling to” God’s Word and “patiently produce” a harvest. Is that the type of heart you have? Or do you need to do some spiritual cleaning up? Can you say like King David,

I rise early, before the sun is up;

I cry out for help and put my hope in your words.

I stay awake through the night,

thinking about your promise.

In your faithful love, O Lord, hear my cry;

let me be revived by following your regulations.

Psalm 119:147-149

That’s the kind of heart soil God wants us to have! He knows we’re not perfect; we never will be. But we’re on the right track when we’re willing to sacrifice (precious!) sleep just to get into His Word… when we’re daydreaming about God instead of our latest crush… when we feel revived by following God’s rules for our lives.

Challenging stuff, huh? Yeah, for me too. But I can tell you this, sis—there is nothing in this world that will satisfy like a healthy relationship with your God! He is worth the hard work it takes to keep Satan at bay, to keep that soil moist with Living Water, to keep those weeds of business from growing, and to cultivate a rich heart soil just right for growing faith.

When we have deep roots into God, we won’t get knocked down by the crazy stuff that happens in life.

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 (New Living Translation)

I’m not saying things like rejection, betrayal, divorce and loss won’t hurt. We’ll still feel pain. We’ll still get scared sometimes. But we’ll know that God is bigger than our biggest problems and trust Him to see us through. “Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought.” When our roots go deep into God, we’ll keep producing spiritual fruit—love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness gentleness and self-control—even when it’s thundering all around us. Amen?

Love,

PS- You can find more resources to help you grow in your faith (books, music, and even modest clothes!) on the Life, Love & God Pinterest board.