I’d forgotten about the author Phillip Keller. I read several of his books back in the 1990’s. His books are devotional and encouraging, yet not superficial. Browsing through my bookshelves I came across a book by him entitled: As a Tree Grows, Reflections on Growing in the Image of Christ. (Yes, I have books I don’t realize I own!) It is a brief 92 pages, and I read it in one sitting. I want to read it again. It could be read through slowly to better meditate on the thoughts, or I’d love to take this book on a hike and read it in the forest.
This book offers scriptural thoughts about growing in godliness. It does so by comparing principles of natural growth in the life of a tree with supernatural truth in the life of a believer. The author had a degree in agronomy, and worked in the field of agriculture, land management and conservation. He draws out scientific facts (in a simple way) about trees and what they need to grow, and it parallels surprisingly well to our becoming like Christ. It contains helpful insight on how you can “grow like a cedar in Lebanon” (Psalm 92:12). I truly recommend this little book to you!
Here is a practical idea from the book related to Bible reading:
Too often we focus on individual verses in the Bible, and the author suggests that we rather look at whole chapters or blocks. He recommends 24 specific Bible passages, and that you take one a month for 2 years. Each month you would read, meditate upon, and really immerse yourself in the passage. He feels that the selected passages will provide material that can transform the fabric of a Christian’s life. “One cannot absorb these and not grow!” Here they are:
Ex 20:1-21, 1 Sam 2:1-10, Ps 1, Ps 23, Ps 51, Prov 20, Isa 40, Isa 53, Mal 3, Mt 5, Mt 6, Mt 7, Jn 3, Jn 14, Jn 15, Jn 16, Rom 8, 1 Cor 13, Gal 5, Eph 6, Col 1, Phil 3, Heb 12, Rev 21.
In close, here is a quote from the last page of the book:
“Most of us have never learned the humble though powerful practice of concentrating on Christ. Outside, walking alone, away from the usual surroundings which remind us of our feverish workaday world, we can give our hearts a chance to center their interest and affection on Him. It is a simple, humble habit. Perhaps it is too ordinary for most people.”