I love to receive my grandchildren's annual school photographs. I can see how they've changed and grown. They often stand back to back with each other — and me — to see who is taller. The younger ones stand straight as their height is compared to a previous measurement on the wall. I'm so proud of the children as I watch them accomplish new things and take on more responsibilities. They mature as each year passes.
Just as we grow physically and emotionally, the same should be true of our spiritual life. God wants all His children to grow and develop the character of Jesus. We don't know much about Jesus as a boy but one thing that the Bible does tell us is that He grew spiritually:
Luke 2:40 – And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him. (NIV)
When Jesus was tested in the wilderness, He was able to resist the devil because He was spiritually mature — unlike Adam and Eve who, when they were tempted, were easily deceived.
The apostle Paul reprimanded the members of the early church because they were immature and divided:
1 Corinthians 3:1-3 – I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly — mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? (NIV)
As our faith strengthens and matures, like a tree, we grow strong spiritual roots and bear spiritual fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
The disciple Peter tells us that to our faith, we should keep adding goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. "For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure," he goes on, "they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1:5-8 NIV)
Christians belong to a royal family. We are heirs to God's kingdom, and we should persevere in obedience. Our whole life should be geared to our future inheritance. Here on earth, God wants us to make a difference.
It seems to be a good idea, then, to assess our spiritual growth regularly. Looking back on the past year, if we cannot see any signs of growth, let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us to take the necessary steps to learn and grow.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Christians are Your children, but we must not remain infants. Help us to grow in wisdom and grace, and to be prolific in bearing spiritual fruit for the good of Your kingdom. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Seeking The Lost" (Lyrics)