As a Christian, we know that we have been called to grow and develop. We understand by experience that at baptism, there is not an automatic download and reboot that takes place that changes our ways and makes us always do the right thing and make the best choices. We don’t become super-leaders or spiritual giants overnight… that requires growth and development and a consistent focus on not living for self. All too often though, that reality is understood, but gets “back burnered” because it gets labeled as a “good thing” to work on instead of an “urgent” or “required” thing.
However, from the time we obey the gospel until we breathe our last, God expects us to grow in many different ways. That shouldn’t really come as a shock to those of us who have read the gospels because we see in Luke 2:52 that even Jesus grew! Luke records that he grew “…in wisdom and in stature…” (ESV), meaning that Jesus grew up physically and spiritually. So, as we try to become more like him… we too should grow spiritually.
Hebrews 5:8 tells us that Jesus learned obedience and was made perfect in doing so! Can you imagine that? God in the flesh who knows all things, humbling himself to learn obedience. That’s pretty amazing. What’s more is that, as he was able to humble himself and learn, he was made perfect… and what a clear challenge that should be for us today! Growth is certainly not easy, but it is our duty and it comes with a great reward!
Consider a few passages along these lines:
“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (ESV)
1 Peter 2:2
“Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation” (ESV)
2 Peter 3:17–18
“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (ESV)
As we seek to be faithful Christians, we should strive to follow the example of Jesus, strive to grow to maturity, and become the church Jesus expects us to be. As daunting as that may seem right now, with God’s help and his Word as our guide, we can do this.