An interesting fact about sunflowers is that the budding flowers are heliotropic… meaning that they turn toward sunlight. In the morning the flower buds face east, and by evening the plant head will turn west in the direction of the setting sun. Once the bud of the sunflower has bloomed, it no longer does this.
Christians have been compared to sunflowers. As new Christians, our eyes are on the Son all the time. As we mature, we need to be so very careful that we don’t become preoccupied with the things of this world. Paul expressed this potential danger in Romans 12:2a, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” (NLT)
Like sunflowers, we need to be firmly planted in order to grow properly. Some of the sunflowers in my garden were just barely on top of the soil, so they became too heavy and toppled over. We need to stay grounded in God’s Word or we won’t grow either. In Matthew 13:5-6 Jesus said, “Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died.” (NLT)
Sunflowers produce lots and lots of seeds (how I got over 40 plants in my garden this year). If we are living as the Bible instructs, we should be sowing lots of seeds for God’s kingdom. Jesus explained this in Matthew 13:23, “The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” (NLT)
The oil that is produced from sunflower seeds has great health benefits; sunflower oil contains Vitamin E, has low levels of saturated fat, and can reduce cholesterol levels. As Christians we should be producing the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
Sunflowers got their name because they look like the sun. Christians need to resemble the Son in all our actions and words; if we truly are saved, we will change and these changes will be visible to everyone. An explanation on what spiritual growth looks like is found in 2 Peter 1:3-11. God helps us “escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires” (verse 4). In keeping our eyes on the Son, we will also continue to grow: “The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins” (verses 8-9). We should all work hard to prove that we “are among those God has called and chosen” (verse 11).