Most of us stop growing around the age of eighteen … upwards anyway. Horizontal growth seems to spread out all through life. That’s natural, but what isn’t natural is the fact that when we come to a certain place in our life many of us stop growing in other ways.
Some stop growing in their knowledge of the Lord when they realize they are saved from hell and are heading to heaven because of Jesus. They didn’t want a PHD in knowing the Lord, just a fire insurance policy.
Others go to sleep intellectually. They never entertain new ideas, never read books to learn more, never listen to speakers who can help them grow, or they never take a course or sign up for an apprenticeship. They know enough, thank you. So, they stop.
And, “I got the girl, okay? Why should I try to help our relationship grow. We’re married!”
What if a baby decided that the ability to walk across the room was sufficient for him in life and he never went any further? As much as possible, he lets mama and daddy carry him around.
We can’t make ourselves any taller but we can grow in a lot of areas that add tremendous value and contentment to our life.
The number one factor for those who want to grow in God is to really want to grow in God. Really.
Now to say you want to grow is good. It might be more convincing if you cry a bit when you say it. But, the real proof that you desire to grow in God is that you do it.
Doing it starts with a prayer for help because this is a spiritual thing and we’ve got to have spiritual power to carry it out. The Spirit of God births the desire to grow in the heart of the man or woman who wants to desire Him. Does that make sense?
Anyone can read a bit more in their Bible, pray a few minutes more, read a few books and listen to another sermon. But, growth comes when we’ve hungry for God, then do those things. That opens our spirit to God’s voice. It’s the difference between rain failing on dry ground with seed in it, or rain falling on powdery sand with no seed.
Desire is the seed
“He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. (Psalm 145:19 NIV)
“Going through the motions doesn’t please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.” (Ps. 51:16 The Message)
Do you want to grow in your relationship with the Father through the Lord Jesus? Find a regular time to meet with Him and pray. Study His Word. Praise Him, tell Him you love Him. Find a way to serve others (often we find God when we touch another person in His Name).
Look for books that help you know Him (“The Pursuit of God,” by A.W. Tozer is a good one). Listen to pastors who help you come closer.
Skip a couple of meals and do something that brings you closer to God instead of eating. You don’t have to fast a long time. When we learn to discipline our physical appetites it often helps the spiritual part of us come to the forefront.
I’m not talking about something weird. If you feel like you’re more spiritual than others, you’re probably missing the mark. The goal is not to be more “spiritual,” it’s to know the Lord Jesus better and more intimately.
I noted one of my diary entries from a few years ago, “Lord, send me some ‘hungry, growing-in God’ books; some hungry, growing-in-God’ people; and a hungry, growing-in God heart.” That’s still my prayer.
Is Your Head a Hat Rack Or a Gift?
Personally, I think God wants us to learn until the day we die. At the very least it’s good for the health of our brain.
I used to visit an old folks home and I would get discouraged by the people. They seemed more like furniture than people. An elderly lady in our church went there to live and in a few months her intellectual capacities nosedived.
Is it any wonder? At the time it seemed the people had nothing to do and they whiled away their days sitting in front of the television.
An elderly lady in our church in Luxembourg stayed mentally sharp into her late eighties. I asked myself how she kept her mental acuity when so many lose it. I think a lot of it was that she read a lot, she walked, she was faithful in her attendance at church, and she was often with people much younger than she was.
Your brain is a gift from God. You either use it or lose it.
“In times of great change the learner inherits the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists,” said Eric Hoffer.
Read things that help you grow. Learn how to do something you didn’t know how to do. Enroll in a course. Volunteer to work in a mission that helps others. Work towards a degree in something which interests you.
It’s the same in so many areas of our life. We may not be growing any taller but we need to take care of this body God has given us. If you do that, it’s no guarantee of a long, healthy life but you sure increase your chances of health.
If you do, though, you might end up like this ninety year old doctor, I saw on You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pX9h5PVNGaY . At the time he set the record for the highest pole vault for someone in his age category. There probably wasn’t a lot of competition.
If you want to succeed in life—get to growing!
Are you still growing in your relationship with God? How? If not, what are two things you are going to do to move towards the Lord?
How about your intellectual life? Are you learning or are you just exposing yourself to magazines and people and news sites that say what you agree with? Sometimes it’s good to get challenged.
And … ahem … physically? Are chairs getting smaller and smaller? Are your clothes shrinking? That body is a gift. Ask God to help you turn the tide so that you can take care of it better and live longer to serve Him on earth.
And your relationship with those closest to you? Are you growing or coasting? Better get to work!