Are You Growing?
We all have responsibilities in this world. Whether we are parents, children or employees, we all are responsible for ourselves. Responsibility is given when one shows growth in areas of their lives. I find it interesting that the Apostle John was inspired to write: “I am writing to you, little children (believers, dear ones), because your sins have been forgiven for His name’s sake [you have been pardoned and released from spiritual debt through His name because you have confessed His name, believing in Him as Savior]. I am writing to you, fathers [those believers who are spiritually mature], because you know Him who has existed from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men [those believers who are growing in spiritual maturity], because you have been victorious and have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children [those who are new believers, those spiritually immature], because you have come to know the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has existed from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong and vigorous, and the word of God remains [always] in you, and you have been victorious over the evil one [by accepting Jesus as Savior]” (1 John 2:12-14 AMP).
John was writing this to encourage people to take a look at their lives, the things that they were going through day by day and to see if they didn’t find these things to be evident in their lives. If they weren’t then he wouldn’t have written this. In verses 3 – 6 he also wrote (AMP): “And this is how we know [daily, by experience] that we have come to know Him [to understand Him and be more deeply acquainted with Him]: if we habitually keep [focused on His precepts and obey] His commandments (teachings). Whoever says, “I have come to know Him,” but does not habitually keep [focused on His precepts and obey] His commandments (teachings), is a liar, and the truth [of the divine word] is not in him. But whoever habitually keeps His word and obeys His precepts [and treasures His message in its entirety], in him the love of God has truly been perfected [it is completed and has reached maturity]. By this we know [for certain] that we are in Him: whoever says he lives in Christ [that is, whoever says he has accepted Him as God and Savior] ought [as a moral obligation] to walk and conduct himself just as He walked and conducted Himself.”
The world always seems to revolve around the idea that every New Year is going to bring something better and that things will change in some way. But so often situations in people’s lives stay the same, year after year. WHY?
What about us? Are we growing? Or are we spiritually the same year after year? Why is it that some people show 30%, 60% and 100% growth, while some don’t show any growth and either show general disinterest or fully fall away?
It all has to do with our mindsets and what we are willing to put in. Are we truly willing to allow Christ to lead in our lives? Allowing Him to do this means we must be fully engaged in prayer, Bible study and meditation. In everything bringing ourselves into subjection (1 Corinthians 9:27).
In 1 Timothy 4:14-16 (AMP) Paul was encouraging Timothy to be growing so much that EVERYONE would be able to tell that he was making progress: “Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, [that special endowment] which was intentionally bestowed on you [by the Holy Spirit] through prophetic utterance when the elders laid their hands on you [at your ordination]. Practice and work hard on these things; be absorbed in them [completely occupied in your ministry], so that your progress will be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself [concentrate on your personal development] and to your teaching; persevere in these things [hold to them], for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.”
This edification is not always easy to maintain. We go through “seasons” in our lives where situations are not always easy to maintain where growth may feel incredibly painful and unbearable. But the truth is that if we maintain our relationship with God and Christ and we are moving forward, even if it is just on our hands and knees, like babies crawling forward, we will make it through whatever is thrown at us. “Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord [always doing your best and doing more than is needed], being continually aware that your labor [even to the point of exhaustion] in the Lord is not futile nor wasted [it is never without purpose]” (1 Corinthians 15:58 AMP).
When we become weary and burdened by the lives we live, we must remember why we are here and why we continue to be dedicated to growing spiritually. It is not for our own glory:
“But grow [spiritually mature] in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory (honor, majesty, splendor), both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” This is truly the goal that each of us should be seeking daily. If we are careful to keep these things in mind we will be useful servants of God who are truly growing into the roles that He is preparing for us as Children in His soon coming Kingdom” (2 Peter 3:18 AMP).