The Bible tells us that growth is God's will for our lives. It doesn’t seem possible my son Parker is 11. It seems just like yesterday we were speeding to the hospital for his unexpected arrival. A few Sundays ago, that once laughing toddler stood almost shoulder to shoulder with me in the kitchen helping make lunch. I appreciate the help but I miss him the younger version of him at times. As a dad I have to remember he has to grow up from that cute kid he was and is. Let’s be honest, a child that doesn't grow up, that's not cute, that's tragic. It is possible to grow old and not ever grow up. You know as well as I do, there are a lot of old people who are spiritually and emotionally immature. They never grew up. They grew old without growing up. Gods desire for His children is to grow out diapers and baby food. He wants you to be spiritually strong. He wants you to be a man. He wants you to be a woman of God.
Growth is God's will. Ephesians 4:14 says this, "We're not meant to remain as children at the mercy of every wind of teaching…" In other words, you just fall for anything when you're immature. "Instead we're meant to hold firmly to the truth in love, and to grow up in every way into Christ." We're not meant to remain as children but we're meant to grow up in Christ. What is the perfect picture of maturity? Look at Jesus. Jesus is the ultimate picture of spiritual, emotional, intellectual maturity. To have the thoughts of Christ and know how to respond like he did helps us mature.
In other words, the longer you are a believer, the more like Christ you should become. When we feast on the Word of God we get a better of understanding of how we should act towards those we disagree with. We learn how to love people whose lifestyles and life choices are different than ours. We learn how to hold our tongue when our ignorant thoughts want to jump out our throats. The book of James encourages us, commands us, to not simply read the word but do what it says. Let me give you 3 ways you can remain spiritually healthy:
1- Feed on God’s Word- We grow when we feed on God's Word. This book, this Bible, is your soul food. Now you know that you can't be physically healthy if you eat junk food all the time. You can't be spiritually healthy unless you feed on the truth. Feed on the Word of God.
What kind of health would you have if every Sunday you ate this giant Sunday brunch buffet and just gorged yourself with all this food and the rest of the week you ate nothing? Well it would harm your health. It harms your health if all you get of spiritual truth is what you get on Sunday. That's not enough. You've got to eat a little bit every day. You've got to feed your soul, not just once a week going to church, you've got to feed your soul a little bit every day or you're going to be a spiritual wimp. You're not going to have the strength that you need in order to do what God wants to do in your life.
2- Develop Spiritual Habits- We grow when we develop spiritual habits. I cannot over emphasis with you the importance of you building good habits in your life. If you build good habits in your life, you're going to have good character. If you have good character, you're going to have a great destiny. Your habits determine what you are and what you are determines where you go in life. Your character is the sum total of your habits. You can't say, "I'm a kind person. I have the character quality of kindness" unless you're always kind, unless it's habitual to you. It's your habit to be kind. If you're only kind 25 percent of the time, you're not a kind person.
If you say, "Well, I have integrity. I'm honest." If you're only honest 25 percent of the time, you don't have integrity. Integrity means you're habitually honest. You are habitually doing the right thing. If you were to say to your spouse, "Honey, I'll be faithful to you 28 days of the month." Partial faithfulness is unfaithfulness. Partial obedience is disobedience. I can't say I'm a faithful husband if I'm faithful most of the time. No, no. It has to become a habit in your life.
As a believer, you need to develop a habit of having Christ like character, prayer, reading the Word, and attending a local church. These habits help you exercise your spiritual muscle. Develop these habits and be faithful to them.
3- Help others grow- You cannot grow to spiritual maturity by yourself. It isn’t going to happen. No way Jose. Nada, zip, nothing, zero. It is not going to happen. You cannot grow to be the person God wants you to be by yourself. You need me and I need you and we need each other. God wired us in such a way that nobody grows to maturity by themselves. You grow by yourself, you're going to be a lonely, stunted, spiritually person that will be wimpy and weak and not mature. The more you involve other people who are strong in the Lord in your life, we grow together. It's relational. Spiritual growth is relational. We're better together.
Romans chapter 1:12, Paul says, "I want us to help each other with the faith that we have. Your faith will help me and my faith will help you." You have to have other people in your life. God wired us this way. How many times have I talked to you about the verses called the 56 one another’s in the Bible? Fifty-six commands you cannot obey unless you're in a small group. Love one another. Care for one another. Help one another. Encourage one another. Pray for one another. Serve one another. Share with one another. Build each other up. Be there for each other. 56 times God says, "The only way you grow is in community. The only way you grow is in relationships."
Bottom line, when you know better, you should do better. No excuses or reasons why you can’t. DO BETTER! Read the word and let the Holy Spirit guide you along your journey. Become the mature believer God has called you to be. When this happens, you won’t panic about who is elected president, who people choose to sleep with, when you lose your job or when life punches you in the stomach. No, the mature believer can stand firm, because the Word abides in him and his feet are securely planted.