I was changing my new granddaughter’s dirty diaper the other day and I had a thought. If I was not doing this for her, she would just remain dirty. She can’t figure out how to get out of the situation and she doesn’t have the strength or motor skills to do it. Now, she knows she is uncomfortable and something isn’t right, but she really doesn’t know what to do about it. This got me to thinking…
The moment a baby is born (well, really conceived) they begin to grow. At first, they are completely dependent on the people caring for them to help them. They can’t do anything for themselves. LITERALLY NOTHING. So they are fed, burped, held, rocked, changed…and the list goes on and on.
BUT there comes a time when they have to begin to do things on their own. They are still dependent but they are gaining attributes and skills that help them grow and become a productive human being. They still need a little help but the more they grow, the more the development happens, and the more independent they become. The more independent they become, the more productive they become.
The same is really true in our spiritual lives. Jesus even said it to Nicodemus, “You must be born again.” We must become like a little baby. We must be born of the spirit. We call this salvation. Once this happens we immediately begin to grow. At first, we have no clue how to take care of this new spiritual life we have in Christ. We are completely dependent on people to help us. (BY THE WAY THIS IS DISCIPLE-MAKING but that is a whole other post for another day). We need to be fed the Word. We need to digest. We have to grow. The more others help us do that, the more we grow spiritually.
SPIRITUAL GROWTH IS NOT AUTOMATIC.
Peter gives us a view of what this process looks like.
2 Peter 1:3 “By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know Him…”
Peter then lists 7 characteristics of the life that is growing in the grace that saved us.
2 Peter 1:5-7 “…Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.”
These are characteristics that we will grow in as we grow up spiritually. These don’t happen in succession like they are written but they will happen as we exercise them. When one grows it will lead to growth in others and so on.
If we don’t grow spiritually we are like a “40-year-old” who still acts like they are in high school. Those people are just annoying and they are missing out on what life is really supposed to be for them. They miss their purpose and the point of salvation.
So how can we be sure that we are growing spiritually? We look at the evidence of our lives. Peter goes on to write about this.
2 Peter 1:8-9 “The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.”
GROWING DISCIPLES ARE PRODUCTIVE AND USEFUL
As believers, we have to constantly be asking ourselves if we are spiritually productive and useful. Are we “bearing fruit,” as Jesus would say? If we are not growing spiritually then we become like a dried up tree that is barren and not fruitful. Being productive and fruitful doesn’t just mean that we do good things, (anyone can do good things), but it means that we are bearing spiritual fruit that points others to Jesus and glorifies Him.
So are you productive and useful to the Kingdom or would the Kingdom of God never be affected if you were no longer around?
GROWING DISCIPLES HAVE VISION BEYOND THEMSELVES
When we are “born again” our eyes are opened and we can see the Kingdom of God. BUT after they are opened, it is important that we increase our vision and see all that God wants us to see.
As believers we don’t want to be SHORTSIGHTED. This is a picture of somebody squinting their eyes because they can’t see at a distance.
If we are not growing and being productive then chances are we are only focused on what is going in our own lives. We can only see what we need, what we want, and what pertains to us. We can’t see with the spiritual vision of the Kingdom, for the lost in the world, for the growing of the church. So shortsightedness or lack of vision can really be defined as SELFISHNESS.
If we truly believe the gospel of Christ, and it has changed our lives then we can not be shortsighted. We have to grow to the point that our whole life is about helping others see what we can see. The glory of God through Jesus. The beauty of the church. The privilege of being in the family of God.
So I ask myself and I am asking you…Are we shortsighted in our faith? Are we selfish? Are we just glad that we are “saved”? Are we still living like a teenager Christian when we should be mature?
We must grow. If you need help, please contact me. Let’s do it together. Let’s SEE with fresh vision and let’s be productive, not for ourselves, but for what really matters – the eternal kingdom of heaven that we are privileged to be a part of!
LIVE ON PURPOSE!