2 Peter 3:18, “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”
When it comes to how tall we stand, hereditary factors establish a ceiling that limits our height. Regardless of diet and exercise, physical growth ceases at a certain point. No matter how hard we may try, when that limit is reached we cannot grow anymore (vertically that is, though many of us have a tendency to continue to expand horizontally). Our potential to grow spiritually is unrestricted; however, it depends on our own desire and how much we draw on His Eternal Word.
Once upon a time there was a Persian king who wanted to teach his four sons never to make rash judgments. So, he told the eldest son to go in winter to see a mango tree, the next son would go in spring, the third son in summer, and the youngest son in the fall. After the last son had returned from his autumn visit, the king called them together to describe what they had observed. “It looks like a burnt old stump,” said the eldest. “No,” said the second, “it is lacy green.” The third described it as “beautiful as a rose.” The youngest said, “No, its fruit is like a pear.” “Each is right,” said the king, “for each of you saw the tree in a different season.
My beloved, so it is with born-again believers in Christ. Simply put we are all at different seasons of our spiritual growth. What a lesson this fable holds for us who profess Jesus Christ as Savior of our life. Our maturity doesn’t just happen. Our “diet” has to be right and we must “exercise” our faith regularly. Unless we feast on God’s precious Word, there will be no growth. Unless we obey and practice what we have studied, we will never realize our full potential. Our brothers and sisters in the Lord are at different stages in their spiritual growth and come from many different backgrounds and cultures. Their conversion to Christ is just the beginning of a lifetime of replacing old thoughts, attitudes, habits, and actions with new ones created by the indwelling Holy Spirit.
We are saved by grace and declared righteous in Christ Jesus. For the believer, the power of the spiritual life comes from the indwelling Holy Spirit. If we meditate on God’s Word daily, it will influence our thoughts and help us to grow to be more like Christ. My beloved, we can’t make ourselves grow, any more than we can force growth from the seeds in our garden. However, we can tend the soil, keeping our hearts soft, receptive and obedient to His Eternal Word. Then we will yield the fruit of righteousness. Thus, as we open our heart and mind to the Word with an eagerness to obey it, the Spirit will cause us to grow and bear fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).
Whether you’re a new believer or have known the Lord for many years Ephesians 4:15 tell us to, “Grow up in all things into Him”. Above all, don’t let setbacks and failures discourage you in your walk and service for the Lord. Stay in touch and in tune with God through prayer and the fellowship of like believers in Christ. Then, as you feed on the Word of God and obey His commands, you too will become more like Christ through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Someone made this observation, “The acorn does not become an oak in a day. It’s not one touch of the artist’s brush that produces a finished painting. There are always months between seedtime and harvest. Remember, it takes time”! So, how would you describe your spiritual growth today compared to six months or a year ago?
If we are being transformed by the Word, we won’t be conformed to the world.