Sunday, April 13, 2008

GROWING SPIRITUALLY

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"but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." - 2 Pt. 3:18
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There are many kinds of growth. There is the natural growth that is just biological processes. If you feed the plant, or feed the child, it grows. Smaller things get bigger and the younger get older. When something goes wrong, we start worrying. But there is a particular kind of growth that relates to all men that can be neglected and it often is. This kind of growth should start early. When Jesus was just a boy, Luke records, "The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him" (Lk. 2:40). Don't think for a moment that the parents, Mary and Joseph, had nothing to do with it. Godly parents are the child's first spiritual tutors. When Jesus was a bit older, at the transformative age of twelve, He went with His family to Jerusalem. After the feast, when His parents headed home, Jesus stayed around town and spent some extra time at the temple. After a while, the parents figured out that Jesus was not with the caravan and so they went back to find Him. Luke says, "Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions" (Lk. 2:46). Here we get to see how Jesus was growing spiritually. In the temple, Jesus was listening and asking questions and the people were "amazed at His understanding and His answers" (Lk. 2:47). At an age just shy of manhood, the Holy Spirit says, "And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men" (Lk. 2:52). This is the kind of maturing all parents should seek in their boys and girls.

A child is blest to have godly parents to bring him up to know the Lord. But what about the rest who aren't raised in a spiritually rich environment? What do they do? What hope do they have? Everyone has to start some place and God will be a father to the fatherless (Ps. 68:5). Our heavenly Father knows exactly what we need and is able to give the right nurturing and discipline even if they come late. He disciplines His children, "in order that we may share in His holiness" (vs. 10). That's what makes Him a good Father (Heb. 12:7). And that's good news for everyone.

Bioligically, when something stops growing, it starts dying. It's also true spiritually. Peter wrote for Christians to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Pt. 3:18). The Proverb says to "train them up in the way they should go." Paul said to "bring them up in the nurture and discipline of the Lord." This kind of mental and spiritual growth starts young and continues all of our lives. If we aren't growing, we need to start. Growth is a part of life and spiritual growth is essential to eternal life. So keep growing and make sure the little ones in your care are moving in the right direction.

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