May is a time for cultivating. When we looked at our year and chose words to focus on each month of 2016, we thought “cultivate” was perfect for late spring. When we think about cultivating, we often think of gardening. We cultivate plants to get them to grow. But we can cultivate all kinds of things in our lives.
Let’s do a little word study. Cultivate is a transitive verb, meaning it can be done to something or someone. We cultivate something. Cultivate means “to prepare for the raising of crops,” “to protect and encourage the growth of,” “to cause to grow by special attention or by studying, advancing, developing, practicing, or publicizing.” Part of the second definition speaks volumes: “to improve by labor, care, or study.”
We don’t accidentally cultivate. We purposefully cultivate. This month, our prayer is that we cultivate righteousness. We want to labor, care, and study for God’s purposes. We want to encourage the growth of fruits of the Spirit. We want to practice peace, hope, and love.
We had several verses written down that speak of sowing and reaping. The Bible speaks often of reaping what we sow, of planting carefully what’s in our hearts because what’s in our hearts will be seen in our lives. But we settled on a verse in James to meditate on and memorize this month. It’s in a chapter that begins with an exhortation to control our tongues. A reminder that what’s in our hearts comes out in our speech. James then talks about godly wisdom. Verse 17 says, “the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy.” That is the wisdom we want—pure, peace-loving, full of good fruits. The next verse is the one we want to cultivate in our own hearts this month.
And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace. James 3:18
The fruit of righteousness comes by cultivating peace. Let’s cultivate peace in our lives this month. We do that by taking every request to God with thanksgiving (Phil. 4:6-7), by trusting in God (Isa. 26:3), by knowing Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33), by living in peace with others (Rom. 12:9-21). When we live in this peace, we will cultivate peace. And when we cultivate peace, we will see the fruit of righteousness.
Cultivating takes work. It’s a verb—an action word. We must actively and purposefully cultivate the things in our lives we want to grow. This month, we hope you’ll focus on cultivating what matters. Our prayer in May is that we cultivate righteousness and peace in our lives.
Join us! Let us know on Twitter and Instagram what you’re cultivating in your life. Use the hashtag #PrayersFor2016 so we can pray with you! We’ve included several wallpapers and art below so that you can memorize and cultivate this verse in your heart this month. Just right click to download from a computer or tap and hold to download on your phone.
Instagram/Social Media Art:
Facebook Cover Art:
Computer Wallpaper 1920×1080:
Computer Wallpaper 1280×1024: