We normally have an indoor plant on our kitchen table. We try to turn it often so that it grows symmetrically. Since plants are dependent upon energy from the sun, they turn to reach the sunlight. We usually have a number of sunflowers planted in our vegetable garden and it is interesting to watch them turn their “heads” to follow the sunlight. God created an amazing process for plant growth called photosynthesis, a process used by plants and other organisms to convert light energy—normally from the sun—into chemical energy that can later be released to fuel the organisms’ activities of growth and fruit bearing. This chemical energy is stored in carbohydrate molecules such as sugar which are synthesized from carbon dioxide and water—hence the name photosynthesis from the Greek phos (light) and synthesis (putting together). Light acts as the catalyst as carbon dioxide and water combine to form sugar, with oxygen being released into the atmosphere as a by-product. Photosynthesis maintains atmospheric oxygen levels and supplies all of the organic compounds and most of the energy necessary for life on earth. What an amazing Creator God who designed all this when He created vegetation and placed the sun at exactly the right distance from the earth to supply the energy for the process of photosynthesis. And He didn’t have to experiment until He got it right. It all worked perfectly from the very beginning.
Trillions of leaves, as they respond to the energy from the sun, and utilize the processes designed by God, provide the means to grow all the food, fiber, and materials we need for existence on this earth. All by simply presenting themselves to the sun. As I observe this amazing phenomenon, I realize that a similar process takes place as we “turn toward the Son,” Jesus Christ, daily to be energized by Him as He shines His righteousness toward us so we can thrive, grow and bear fruit. It all begins for us when God’s light shines into our spiritual darkness to show us the truth about the Son and He gives us the faith to trust Him for eternal life. Paul wrote: “For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (II Cor. 4:6). Once new life has “germinated” in our hearts, and we become “new creations in Christ” (II Cor. 5:17), we have the potential to grow in Christlikeness and become fruit bearers, That process takes place as we daily “turn toward the Son,” by spending time focusing on Him and His Word, the Bible. As we do that, a “spiritual photosynthesis” takes place in which the truths of Scripture, through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, start to become part of our lives as we grow little by little in His image. And, just as in the process of photosynthesis which adds life-giving oxygen to the atmosphere, our lives begin emitting the love of God to a world desperately in need of life through Christ.
God’s intricate plan of photosynthesis for plants to provide food and materials for animal and human life on this earth has been a great success. Here we are some 6,000 plus years since He put this plan into action and we are still raising gardens, crops of all kinds, and harvesting trees to provide for the needs of mankind. His plan for “spiritual photosynthesis” has also been a great success. When Jesus returned to heaven 40 days after His resurrection, He left only a handful of believers on earth with the responsibility of reproducing spiritually and spreading the Good News of His death, burial and resurrection to the entire earth (Acts 1: 8). Today there are millions of believers world-wide, those who have experienced deliverance from the darkness and bondage of sin through faith in Jesus Christ and who are in turn sharing their faith with others, even though for some it means great persecution, possibly death. God’s plan is working—it always does.
Plants automatically turn their leaves toward the sun. That’s how God made them. As believers in Christ, we have to do so as a choice, for God gave us a free will. We must daily purposely expose ourselves to the Son if we are going to grow and bear fruit and multiply. In our busy lives it is easy to become distracted by all the urgent demands upon our time, and neglect our time with the Lord and His Word. We need to live intentional lives, putting Christ first above all other demands, so that we can grow in Him and be used by Him to reach others. The continuing growth of our lives individually, and His church collectively, depends upon it. Have you purposefully “turned toward the Son” today?