I never understood the purpose of a trellis until I heard it described by a gardener that specialized in roses. The main work of a trellis is to keep the roses and vines growing in an upward direction giving more exposure to sunlight. Without a trellis, the vines sprawl over the ground being trampled upon and grow intermixed with ground growth. The trellis is the support needed to make the roses healthier and stronger as it grows upward.
Spiritual practices are just the same for us. They give us the support we need to grow upwards and develop, giving us more exposure to the Son's light. Spiritual practices or formations form us spiritually. We all have spiritual formations; think of them being spiritual rhythms. In general, it's a church on Sundays, or Wednesday nights, or a community group we attend. Closer to home is our time with the Lord, reading, journaling, or listening to a devotional app, etc... It is unique to each of us. Spiritual rhythms can be added to our lives to promote our journey, just like adding nutrients to a rose bush staying in the light.
God's will for us as believers is found in Romans 8:29b ...to be conformed to the image of his Son,... The spiritual trellis of formations enhances this work in our lives. It's God's work in us to complete what He has started, (Phil. 1:6) and our posture is bent towards His work by in spiritual formations. Paul writes in Gal. 4:19, "he is anguish as childbirth until Christ is formed in you." Following Christ is His formation in our lives.
We lean into Him by developing rhythms to our spiritual trellis. This work keeps us growing in the right direction and keeps us from being sprawled in different directions and being trampled upon. The structure of our trellis is made up of rhythms, such as the study of scripture (God's primary way of speaking to us), service, worship, silence, prayer, solitude, fasting, etc... These are not the means to salvation but foster fertile soil for His wholeness to grow in us. A professional basketball player doesn't walk out on the court and play an exceptional game without many hours on the court by themselves shooting hoops, practicing plays, and strengthening. Strength in our spiritual lives comes from our behind-the-scenes rhythms with the Lord - one on One.
Christ's will for my life is to be like Him. An intentional behind-the-scenes way of living is the invitation. Our desired goal is for Him to naturally flow from our lives. "I am not perfect, just forgiven," as the long-ago bumper sticker said, however, that doesn't mean I am invited to be a spiritual couch potato. An active personal faith is an "alive faith." My daily "lean-in" to Him as His apprentice/disciple is our way. Followers of Christ are disciples...patterning our lives after His. It is a life of faith and practice. What is God showing you about your life and His? He never condemns. He invites us to grow in Him and meets us where we are in this very moment. He is our life!
In such a secular society without a trellis, we can be easily sprawled out in every direction, even trampled on by the ways of the world in its attempt to squeeze us into its conformity rather than Christ's. Our best life is found in the One who has given us life and our daily gaze upon Him nourishes us towards His likeness.
I invite you to just take baby steps with a particular spiritual discipline in your life. It is a practice/rhythm - a worshipful expression to the Lord. Take notice of the new life it produces in you. This relationship with Christ is just that, a relationship of intimacy, expression, and love.
He is our Savior, Friend, Shepherd, Lord, King, Advocate, Brother...the Lover of our souls.
As I write more I will explore more on each of the spiritual disciplines for us to grow towards together. If you need someone to sit with to discuss or process some of these thoughts, please reach out. I would be glad to sit with you.