“Look! I’m almost as tall as you!” The last time I visited my family, my teenage brother was once again eagerly comparing his height to mine. He gets taller every time I see him! He was pretty excited when he passed Mom up, and he is looking forward to being as tall as his older siblings and even dad eventually!
A new year is a good time for reflecting on other kinds of growth, too – most importantly, growth in our walk with God. Though harder to measure than physical growth, God’s Word does give us a measuring stick by which we can evaluate spiritual growth in our lives, and it gives us important truths about how this growth takes place.
Consider the following verses:
Eph. 4:15 - But speaking the truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, even Christ.
In spiritual growth, the goal is Christlikeness! He is the One that we should be measuring ourselves against, not one another! And if we want to grow to become like Christ, we must keep our eyes fixed on Him! If we are focused on Him, we will more readily be able to point others within the Body of Christ to Him, so that we may mutually encourage one another in growth! It should also keep us humble as we realize that, if Christ is the standard, we all have a long ways to go!
Col. 1:9-10 - For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God.
We grow in Christ as we gain a deeper understanding of God’s will and His character. This is both the means by which we grow and the end that we pursue as we grow! The more that we learn about Him, the more fruitful we will be in living a life that pleases Him, and the more we are devoted to living for Him, the more we grow in intimate knowledge of Him!
The Word of God is the spiritual nourishment that we need in order for growth to take place! Therefore, just as a baby cannot grow apart from continual physical nourishment, it is impossible for any real spiritual growth to take place if we are not committed to time spent in God’s Word every day!
2 Pet. 3:18 - But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.
Ultimately, spiritual growth is a work of God’s grace in us, through His Spirit, and it is for His glory! Therefore, our aim should never be to exalt ourselves or boast in how much we have grown, but to display God’s grace and faithful work in our lives by giving all the glory to Him for any growth that is evident in us!
May God help each of us this year to fix our eyes on Christ, mutually encourage one another in the goal of knowing Him more, feed on His Word day by day, depend upon His grace to work in us, and pursue His glory first and foremost in our lives!