When we try to grow and prosper by ourselves, we fail. That’s the simple truth. We are not wired to grow on our own; we need outside forces. And when we think about it, without an outside force driving us, why would we grow? We would have no reason to grow. We would be content to stay as seeds.
In Ezekiel 17, God describes our growth in an indirect way. He begins by saying, “I myself will take a spring from the lofty top of the cedar and will set it out. I will break off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain” (verse 22). God is not talking about our growth here, but the growth of Jesus. Jesus is our outside force. Because Jesus grew, we also have the capability to grow. Without him, we fail.
God goes on to say, “On the mountain height of Israel will I plant it, that it may bear branches and produce fruit and become a noble cedar” (verse 23). God is referring to the life of Jesus here. Jesus did not only grow – he bore branches and produced fruit. He grew with purpose. Because Jesus grew in this way, we also have a reason to grow. Without him, we would still be seeds.
God ends by saying this: “And all the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord; I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it” (verse 24). Just like Jesus, we all grow in a specific way – by the grace of God – and for a specific purpose – the expansion of the kingdom of God. We are not meant to stay as seeds, and Jesus has shown us the way.