How Do You Grow?

The Bible contains many statements about growth. Jacob prophesied that Joseph’s descendants, Ephraim and Manasseh, would “grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth” (Genesis 48:16). And indeed, they became the most powerful nation and group of nations in modern history. On a spiritual plane, God’s kingdom is compared with a “mustard seed” which, “when it is grown,” is greater than the herbs “and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and rest in its branches” (Matthew 13:31-32). John the Baptist “grew and became strong in the spirit” (Luke 1:80). Even Christ, the God of the Old Testament, when He became a human being, “grew and became strong in the spirit, filled with wisdom” (Luke 2:40), and He “increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52).

The early New Testament Church started very small, but it, too, grew (Acts 2:41). We read that in time, the word of God “grew and multiplied” (Acts 12:24; compare Acts 19:20).

God told His disciples that they must GROW spiritually. 2 Peter 3:18 commands us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:2 encourages us to “desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.” Paul said about the church of the Thessalonians that “your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other” (2 Thessalonians 1:3). Ephesians 2:21 tells us that God’s Church, “the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple of the Lord.” And so, we read in Ephesians 4:11-15 that Christ Himself “gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may GROW UP in all things into Him who is the head — Christ…”

As Christians, we must never stop growing. We are to grow toward our ultimate perfection, as God is perfect. As we read in Philippians 3:15-16, in the Authorized Version: “Let us therefore, as many as be [or: to the extent that they are] perfect [the New King James Bible says: mature], be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.” We are not to forsake what we have already accomplished in our lives. There must never come a point in time, however, when we say, “We will grow no further.” With that attitude, we will not only stop growing in God’s Way of Life, but we will, in fact, go backwards and return to whatever we left behind.

Sadly, some, if not many, have done so, and many will still do so, before Christ returns. Paul spoke about Demas, one of his co-workers (Colossians 4:14; Philemon 24), that he “has forsaken me, having loved this present world and has departed for Thessalonica” (2 Timothy 4:10). Rather than overcoming evil with good, he returned to the evil of this world. Christ prophesied for our time: “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will GROW cold” (Matthew 24:10-12). The Greek word for “love” is “agape,” describing the love of God. Rather than growing in God’s love, which would lead to their ultimate perfection (1 John 4:12, 17-18), they stop using it, and so they reverse in their lives the process of godly growth — so much so, that they return to, and begin to live again in accordance with the customs of Satan’s world of hate and betrayal (compare 2 Peter 2:20-22). We are clearly told that in these last days, the work of “evil men and imposters will GROW worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13).

We must not stagnate, but grow. However, we must grow in a right and godly way! If we cease growing in God’s wisdom and knowledge, we will grow in the wisdom of this world, which is inspired by Satan’s evil schemes and devices. In the parable of the wheat and the tares, both God’s disciples and Satan’s followers “grow together until the harvest” (Matthew 13:30). Grow we will — but the question is, in what way?

How do YOU grow?

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