Monday, March 19, 2012

Are You a Cold Frame?

Spring is almost some parts (like in NC) it has soundly put its lovely feet down and is showing off. A few weeks ago I ran across Cold Frames as I was researching some gardening questions. Having seen them in various places, even my father-in-law uses them in the early spring as he is trying to grow young plants to hardiness, I just never knew what to call them. The concept is not new though structures and technology have advanced with time. When I started researching what purposes they fill, I could not help but think that's exactly what my husband and I do in our college ministry. We are spiritual cold frames. Maybe you are too.

According to Wikipedia, In agriculture and gardening, a cold frame is a transparent-roofed enclosure, built low to the ground, used to protect plants from cold weather. The transparent top admits sunlight and prevents heat escape via convection that would otherwise occur.

Seedlings germinate into small, fragile plants. Most of these young plants need hardening-off (a gradual acclimation to the colder environment of exposed soil) before being placed into the elementally cold, hard ground. Thus, the cold frame. Basically, a cold frame is used to protect young plants from the cold while preparing it for being planted in a garden once they are hardy enough.

But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.  
Ephesians 4:15

Below are five ways we as Christians can be used as Cold Frames in the lives of younger, weaker brothers and sisters in Christ.

1.  Protect young Christians (or weaker ones) from the coldness of a world steeped in fallacies by teaching them what the Word of God says. (Titus 1:9)

2.  Help to present the Sonlight through a constant and clear presentation of God's Word and an upright testimony. (Eph. 5:6-8)

3.  Shelter those who are struggling from the strong winds of false doctrines, false teachers, and an underdeveloped Christian worldview. (Eph. 4:14)

4.  Prevent escape of truth by praying for them and encouraging them to stay in God's Word and in the positive fellowship of other believers. Especially those who may be experiencing a crisis of faith because of things that have happened in their lives. (I Thess. 5:21-23)

5.  Allow a climate of growth, exploration, and questioning of spiritual truths. This is also when we as the caretakers should ask discernment for when to release the young plants from the protection of the cold frame. A plant will thrive as it should in the rich soil of a garden once it has reached the hardy stage. Continuing sheltering and protection may produce a weak plant that produces very little fruit. (Heb. 5:12-14)

Cold Frames are not designed to harbor mature, strong plants. 

As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.  (I John 2:27)

Have you been used as a Cold Frame in the life of a younger or weaker Christian?
Are you willing to be used that way?