Growth

When you were born as a baby, you were small in size, you lacked strength and you were ignorant of most things in life.  Praise God that you didn’t remain a small baby, but, according to God’s wonderful design, you grew in size and strength and in knowledge and wisdom.  If you had not grown, your parents would have been most concerned about you because it is normal for a child to grow.

You understand that you grew up from being a baby.  But there is also a similar process in the spiritual realm.  Jesus taught us that we must be born again.  John 3:5-7 “Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’’”  For you to enter the kingdom of God, you must be born again spiritually.  Then you should desire to grow spiritually.  1 Peter 2:1-3 “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,  if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”  You should appreciate the wonderful grace of God to give His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die in your place so that you could receive the forgiveness of your sins and become just and righteous before God.  God has also adopted you as His child and will bless you in many ways.  Since you have tasted how gracious the Lord is, you will want to lay aside all of your sinful practices of the past and desire the milk of the word (the Bible) so that you may grow spiritually.

To grow means to start small and increase in size.  There are a number of things in your spiritual life where there should be growth.  Let us first consider 2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.”  The first area of growth should be in the grace of our Lord.  I understand this to mean that you grow in His favor and that you do things that are pleasing to Him.  In the past, you have done things that pleased yourself and displeased Him.  Now you seek to please Him in your actions.  1 Thessalonians 4:1-2 “Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.”  At first, as a Christian, you may find it difficult to please God.  It may be that you still fall back into your old actions and habits.  This is an area where you need to grow so that you will abound more and more in your walk to please God.  This might include improvement in the things that you say, what you think about, how you spend your time or in your works.  Are you growing in God’s grace?

In 2 Peter 3:18, Peter said to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord.  So the second area of growth should be in the knowledge of the Lord.  The Bible is the best source to begin to know the Lord.  You should read and re-read the Bible to grow in this knowledge.  Keeping His commandments demonstrates that you know Him.  1 John 2:3-6 “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.  He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.  He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”  Being filled with love for others also demonstrates that you know God.  1 John 4:7-8 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”  You also should spend much time with God in prayer.  Spending time in the Bible and in prayer are two of the best ways to know the Lord.  Are you growing in your knowledge of the Lord?

You came to God and Jesus because you believed.  Now your faith needs to grow.  Luke 17:5-6 “And the apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith.’ So the Lord said, ‘If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.’”  I do not have the faith to tell a tree to be removed and have it planted in the sea.  But I do pray that God will increase my faith.  As your faith grows and you see God working in your life, you will trust more and more in the love and the promises of God.  How you live your life as He asks you to will demonstrate your faith in Him.  Is your faith growing?

Another area that needs to grow in your life is your love for others.  The apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 3:12 “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you.” 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 “But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more.”  Is your love for others growing?

There are other areas in your spiritual life that need to grow.  These might include self-control, resisting temptation, patience, strength and in the fruit that you bear.  When you look back on your life as a Christian, do you see growth as you think God would desire?  As you consider yourself over the past few weeks or the past few months or the past few years, have you grown spiritually?  I encourage you to pray to God for his power to cause you to grow.