Consider the lilies of the field and learn thoroughly how they grow; they neither toil nor spin. Matthew 6:28 (AMPC)
Today when I read the above verse in the Classic Amplified Version, the highlighted phrase “learn thoroughly how they grow” caught my attention. How do lilies grow? What can I learn from studying lilies?
Lilies are beautiful. They don’t work to look like that. They don’t spin yarn or weave thread to create their own beauty. They are already beautiful. We are also beautiful, just as we are. We are created in God’s own image. And even though this verse is specifically addressing the concern of clothing, the entire section addresses worrying about things in life that we shouldn’t worry about. So, when the verse said, Learn how lilies grow, I was curious. What is important about how lilies grow? What can I learn from studying lilies?
Here is what I found. Please note I am not a botany expert—not even amateur botanist. I am just applying what I learn about lilies to draw a deeper understanding of God and His desire for me, His daughter. Though there is much technical vocabulary I don’t really understand, there are lessons here.
“Lilies…form naked…underground bulbs, which are their organs of perennation.”[i] I did not know what “perennation” meant, so I looked it up.
Dictionary.com defines perennation this way: “To survive from season to season for an indefinite number of years.” Wikepedia.com says, “In botany, perennation is the ability of organisms, particularly plants, to survive from one germinating season to another, especially under unfavorable conditions such as drought or winter. It typically involves development of a perennating organ, which stores enough nutrients to sustain the organism during the unfavorable season, and develops into one or more new plants the following year.”
What does that mean? A lily has the ability to survive challenging seasons of life by having an organism which sustains it. This challenging season bring forth new life the following year or season.
How can we be like the lily? When we have challenging seasons in our lives, what will sustain us? What gets us through the challenge to come out not only whole but also sprouting new growth? What is our perennating organ? What stores enough “nutrients” for us to survive unfavorable seasons?
I believe it is faith! And how do we store up faith? Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” Therefore, by studying the Word and applying what we learn, we can store up faith for the challenging seasons in our lives when we know God is working, but we cannot see Him working.
Many scriptures encourage us to grow in our faith.
II Peter 3:18 – “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Hebrew 6:1 – “Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity. . .
Jeremiah 12:2 – “You have planted them and they have taken root; they grow and bear fruit.”
1 Peter 2:2-3 – “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.”
Colossians 2:6-7 – “…continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith you were taught. . .”
So, what do we learn from lilies? We learn to increase our faith through study of God’s Word so that when we have struggles and difficult seasons in our lives we can press on in faith, knowing that our struggles will produce new growth and fruit in our lives.
James 1:3-4 – “…the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”