Sunday, January 6, 2019

Keep on Growing!

“The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.”  Jean-Paul Sartre

  Two elderly ladies had been friends since their 30’s. Now in their 80’s, they still got together a couple of times a week to play cards. One day they were playing gin rummy and one of them said, “You know, we’ve been friends for many years and, please don't get mad, but for the life of me, I can't remember your name. Please tell me what it is.” Her friend glared at her. She continued to glare and stare at her for several minutes. Finally, she said, “How soon do you need to know?”
  We all grow old. It’s inescapable. If you want a picturesque description of aging, read Ecclesiastes 12:1-7. The Bible points out though that there is a major difference between growing old chronologically and maturing. Sadly, some never seem to grow up. That’s an even greater tragedy when that individual is a believer. Though they may have known the Lord for years or decades, they’re stunted spiritually.
  Did you know that it’s only in the spiritual realm that we can keep growing and improving? Our bodies and minds begin to break down with age, but our spirits can continue to grow, improve and mature.
  It is truly a tragedy though when a Christian grows old, but doesn’t grow up. While their physical age increases, spiritually they remain babies in Christ. There’s little to differentiate between them and those who committed their lives to Christ in the last few weeks. Part of that lack of growth is that many believe the Christian life is merely having your ticket punched for heaven. It’s not. Jesus didn’t just save us so we could go to heaven. He saved us so that we would grow and be more and more like Him. If you’re not growing more Christlike, then you’re missing God’s will for your life and the fulfilling, abundant life that God wants to give you (John 10:10). What are some needed steps for growing up spiritually?
  It begins with humility. If most listed out the sins that God hates the most, pride might not even make the list. Yet, pride is the first sin on the list of traits that God hates (Proverbs 6:16-17). Pride isn’t something that annoys God. It’s a sin that He won’t tolerate. God does more than hate pride. It’s so offensive that He actually “resists the proud,” while, in contrast, He “gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). You can’t be a Christian without humbling yourself and you can’t be a healthy, growing one without humility. Growth requires a humble, teachable attitude.
  An indication of spiritual arrogance is when we don’t believe that we need to study God’s Word or be under Its teaching. It’s when we do little more than acquire more knowledge but there’s no growth or life change. Arrogance prevents us from having an open mind and listening ear to the Spirit teaching us or fellow-believers who recognize sin or something lacking spiritually in our lives, and love us enough to want to help us grow. Humility is essential for spiritual growth. It’s the place we must begin.  
  It requires habitually renewing your mind. A continual theme of Scripture is the command for the believer to faithfully “renew” his or her mind (Romans 12:2). That simply means that we proactively work to have a biblical worldview. You can’t have a biblical worldview unless you’re faithfully reading Scripture. It’s tragic that while Christians from other generations were martyred so we could have God’s Word in our own hands and language and today believers in anti-Christian countries risk their lives to have a copy of Scripture, American believers rarely read the Bible.
  If you want to grow spiritually, reading God’s Word needs to be a daily discipline. To fail to read God’s Word faithfully is like going on a trip to a place you’ve never been without a map or GPS. Scripture acts like a mirror to help us correct the one we know best – ourselves (James 1:23). The Bible is God’s Love Letter to His children telling them everything that they need for this life and the one to come.
  Part of renewing your mind is also prayer. It’s much more than praying for myself, temporal/physical needs or even for my biological family. The greatest needs are spiritual health. Why would someone be so foolish to pray for physical blessing for their loved ones and fail to pray for their spiritual health…or that they would know Christ? Praying biblically means praying for the advancement of God’s Kingdom in my life and this world. It’s praying His will would be done.
  It requires growing in my giving. When someone mentions giving in a church setting, most foolishly think only of money. For us as rich Americans, giving money primarily helps us grow in grace because it combats the materialism and lack of faith in God’s provision that are terrible spiritual maladies in our culture.
  Many of us struggle more when it comes to giving time rather than money. To be candid, it’s much easier to write a check than spend an hour or two listening to a child or elderly saint. It’s easier to pay someone else to do a repair than to partner with another believer so that more than the repair is done – we grow in fellowship and community. We wrongly think serving is getting a job done. Serving is to have a togetherness aspect.
  And something that’s totally biblical, yet counter-cultural – we must grow in gratitude. In many ways what does someone who doesn’t know the Lord have to be thankful for. Yet, for a believer what do we have that we can’t be thankful for. Even trials and suffering are being used by God to help us grow spiritually. The worst of this world is temporary. Habitual praise begins as part of our thinking (Phil. 4:8). It starts with praising our Heavenly Father for His countless blessings. After-all, He doesn’t owe us anything. Then, turn your gratitude toward those closest to you – your family and spiritual family. One trait that makes our witness so impotent to a lost world is that we are so much like the world in our grumbling and so unlike what we are to be as citizens of another world in our gratitude
  You can’t stop aging. As a believer, you can choose to grow spiritually. It will make all the difference, so please keep growing.

Can we help you spiritually? Can we help you know Jesus better? Please check out more resources on our church's web page, Or, call us at 262.763.3021. If you'd like to know more about how Jesus can change your life, I'd love to mail you a copy of how Jesus changed my life in "My Story." E-mail me at to request a free copy. Please include your mailing address. 

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