2 Thessalonians 1:1-4; 2 Peter 3:14-18
Our house is full of plants. Even as a child, I loved plants and enjoyed taking care of them and watching them grow. It’s important to note that their growth was a natural one. The plants did not choose to grow (or to not grow) or what kind of leaves, flowers or fruit they would produce. All of that happened naturally.
In Luke 12:2, Jesus said: “Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these.”
Growth happens naturally in plants. However, spiritual growth is a choice for humans, especially believers. Spiritual growth is a choice a believer makes when he or she surrenders his or her life to Christ and becomes a transformed per- son, a newborn spiritual baby.
Even though there is a close analogy between the growth of a plant and that of a Christian believer, there is also a radi- cal difference between them. While the growth of a tree is promoted naturally, spiritual growth is not; there is a choice to be made.
Apostle Peter wrote to believers: “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” 1 Peter 2:2
Spiritual growth only happens when we choose to grow, and when we stick to that choice. Sadly, even though many have been claiming to be Christians for many years, they have not been growing spiritually and there is no change or growth in their spiritual walk
We should ask at this point: What is spiritual growth? Spiritual growth is a part of our spiritual purpose in life. In other words, to climb higher and higher toward righteousness in our daily lives.
Two examples of growth in the Bible are Peter—from backsliding to a blessing—and Paul—from persecuting Christians to planting Christian Churches.
What are some evidences of growth?
1. An Increase of Love
“May the Lord make your love in- crease and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.” (1 Thessalonians 3:12)
“Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more.” (1 Thessalonians 4:9-10)
“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)
Love is the evidence of salvation; 1 John 3:14 says: “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”
We are nothing without love (1 Corinthians 13).
2. An Increase of Faith
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3)
3. An Increase of Knowledge of God
“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:10)
Do you know more about God now than when you were saved?
4. A Desire for Holiness in Life
“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” (Philippians 3:13)
Some of the things God uses to help us mature are:
- His Word (1 Peter 2:2) — He uses even trouble and disappointments to help us grow: “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, be- cause we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Romans 5:3-5
- Your private devotional
- Public worship and Bible
- The fellowship of other
As a child is expected to grow and mature, as a tree is expected to grow and become fruitful, as an investment is expected to grow, mature and bring profit, so should a Christian believer grow, mature and be fruitful.
Remember that spiritual growth is a choice that we make! Have you made that choice yet?
Pastor Joseph Hovsepian