Jesus never leaves us how he finds us. He changes us and gives us new hearts and minds and transforms us from the inside out. But it doesn't end there. At least, it shouldn't. There's a call and responsibility for all of us as followers of Jesus to commit to growing into His image. It's possible to change, to become more like Him. The reality however for all of us is that without a growth plan, at best we'll stumble towards a level of maturity that might match our spiritual age, or at worst we'll be baby followers still stumbling and fumbling around, drinking baby milk as opposed to solid food (1 Cor 3:2).
God has called us to own our spiritual growth; to take it seriously; to heed the call to become more like His Son. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and Godliness (2 Peter 1:3). What are we waiting for?
Well firstly, we need to view all of life as a spiritual adventure – not just the parts of life that give us the 'holy-goosebumps'. Paul said to the Corinthian Church, 1 Corinthians 3:1 'Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit (or spiritual) but as people who are still worldly – mere infants in Christ'. The church had forgotten that the living God was in them, with them - they weren't behaving like God was with them, but like babies who didn't know any better. If God is with us all the time, and God is Spirit, there can't be a 'spiritual life' and a 'secular life'; there's just life - and it's all spiritual! God can't be confined to singing in church or feeling His presence in the Connect Group. He is with us at the bust stop, at the office, in the car, when we're doing the shopping – He's there. So the first step in 'owning our growing' is recognizing that if God is always with me, all of my life matters; not just the 'spiritual' parts.
The second step to owning my growing is to embrace the birthing season. There's a time to drink milk; there's a season to only receive that which you can take. It's right that our new life in Jesus starts with milk, that our churches are birthing new followers of Jesus – a healthy church is giving birth all over the place – long may it continue! But don’t settle for milk – there's so much more! God wants us to grow to become all that He has planned for us to become in Him. And that on the most part looks like maturity.
So the third step to owning our growing is to be intentional about it. And intentional looks like a plan or a strategy. By asking ourselves the honest question - how am I going to become more like Jesus, we increase our chances of growing by accident into someone that 'might' look like what Jesus intended, to actually growing into who and what He designed for us to be.
How are we going to do it? I think a growth plan might look something like this:
- Be honest about where you are at – how does your life look now compared to 6 months ago?
- Turn to God (repent)
- Love what Jesus loves - the church!
- Be more about giving than receiving
- Commit to a life of serving others
- Read the Bible often – daily!
- Talk and listen to God - all the time!
It's not easy; it's not instant. Owning our growing takes time, effort and commitment daily. But the prize is Jesus; the prize is becoming less like us and more like Him. The prize is a church feasting on good food, celebrating new life, and growing into a bride worthy of a King. Let's take it seriously, let's own our grow. God is with us.
- How am I a different person to when I first met Jesus? Who might I ask to honestly speak into my life about this?
- What changes to I need to make to grow up as a Christian?
- How am I going to make these changes and what do I expect it to look like this time next year?