Have you ever looked at a mature believer and wished you could be like him or her? Wouldn’t it be great to know the Bible and know how to pray and be able to lead people to Christ and exhibit joy and peace and goodness and knowledge and self-control and perseverance and godliness and kindness and love? Most of us want instant growth, forgetting that what is behind a godly life is a person who has gone through struggles and trials. Spiritual development only comes through practicing spiritual disciplines like time in the Word, prayer, fellowship, fasting, giving, witnessing and serving.
We could say it like this: spiritual growth is intentional, not automatic.
There are two truths to balance.
- God is committed to our growth. 1 Corinthians 3:6-7: “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” God is committed to our growth because He’s the one who planted us. Isaiah 60:21: “They are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendor.” When we grow we show His splendor.
- We must take responsibility for our growth. Check out 2 Peter 3:18: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ…” 1 Peter 2:2 says: “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.”
And Paul applauded the Thessalonians for not being stalled spiritually in 2 Thessalonians 1:3: “We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.”
It’s not all up to God and it’s not all up to us. God has designed it so that we work in partnership with Him. Philippians 2:12-13 captures our part and God’s part very clearly: “…Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling [that’s our part] for it is God who works in you [that’s God’s part] to will and to act according to his good purpose.
Friend, God wants you to grow but you and I must take the steps needed for us to grow. He’ll do His part. Now let’s do ours.