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Why do some trees tower and others remain dwarfed by comparison? Of course genetics plays a part since a Russian olive is destined to be smaller than a California redwood. But even within the same species, some trees grow strong while others don’t.

What stunts growth?

  • Diseases and pests (like we’ve looked at in the past weeks.)
  • Poor soil. Too acidic or too alkaline. Solid rock, sandy, or clay. Not enough iron or nitrogen or phosphorus.
  • Lack of oxygen, usually because of higher altitudes but sometimes because of air pollution.
  • Lack of water. Or too much is drowning the tree.
  • Not enough light. Shaded by buildings, other plants, or on the shady side of a mountain.
  • Not enough room to spread out roots or branches. Competition from neighboring trees. (Often leads to a lack of light, water, and soil nutrients.)
  • Shallow root system that can’t sustain during periods of drought.
  • Exposure to extreme weather like high winds.

Trees need the right growing environment. And so do we.

In order to grow, I need a consistent diet of truth. A life watered with joy. To bask in the light of God’s love. To send roots deep and spread my branches out. To find shelter from life’s storms. How? Through time in Scripture, meditation, worship, prayer, and service.

In order to be like a tree in 2012, I need to be healthy. Not just to fight off disease … but to grow and bear fruit.

What about you? Has your personal growth been stunted? What factors hinder growth? How do you jump-start the process?

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