“… grow with a growth that is from God.” (Col.2:19)
“Oh, Lord, GROW me!” is the unuttered cry of many a believer’s heart, not desiring to be the “same old, same old” self but rather transfigured into the very same image of the One Whom it so loves, the Lord Jesus Christ, and from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18b). This growth that we long for is the result of Grace, and is, in fact, “to the praise and the glory of His Grace” (Ephesians 1:6). Thus the measure in which we are available to and will receive Grace is the measure in which we will GROW UP in Him in all things – and, indeed, reign in all things, in Him (Romans 5:17). King David, who over and over again proved himself available to Grace could boldly declare, “You have freed me when I was hemmed in and enlarged me when I was in distress …” (Psalm 4:1). Now, more than two centuries later, when we have so many of our Christian family “hemmed in” and “in distress” all over the world because of their faith in Jesus Christ, we are persuaded that these precious believers can be “free indeed” to grow on the inside if not on the outside – maybe even more so than those who are not in bonds for their faith! What a slap in the enemy’s face, that God’s people can grow in the Grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ and glorify Him, even in spiritually and physically cramped conditions. May the Lord give US Grace to pray for them, that they will be encouraged to receive Grace to cast down any thoughts that would, if entertained, rob them of a rich, sweet and satisfying communion and life with Him ( 2 Corinthians 10:5; Psalm 25:14).
Lack of spiritual growth breeds lukewarmness, which produces mediocrity.
What was the problem with the believers in the church of Laodicea? None of the “big”, outward sins are mentioned in Revelation 3:15-17 … only lukewarmness, which made the Lord want to vomit them out of His mouth. Why? Being neither hot or cold, remaining the same and not changing their “scent” they were at ease and had settled down into comfortable lives (Jeremiah 48:11). This can so easily happen to 21st century Christians all over the world. BUT it does not have to happen if we choose, by Grace through faith, to continually grow up into Him in all things and refuse to stop growing in Grace, in our knowledge of His Word, in faith, and in spiritual stature, but instead let Him draw us to Himself more intimately and “draw [us] off from one vessel to another…”. ( Song of Solomon 1:4; Jer.48:11)
“[Growing in Grace] they shall still bring forth fruit … ” (Psalm 92:14)
Sometimes “senior” Christians slip into a mind-set that they will now grow less and less because of age-imposed restrictions on their lives. This is certainly not what the writer of Psalm 92 thought! “Planted in the house of the Lord, [the rigtheous] shall flourish in the courts of our God. [Growing in Grace] they shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap [of spiritual vitality] and [rich in the] verdure [of trust, love and contentment]. [They are living memorials] to show that the Lord is …faithful to His promises … ” (Psalm 92:13-15a) And even Christians younger than they can fall into this mental snare if, for example, they are outwardly limited by some physical, mental, emotional, familial, etc. impairment or other seeming disadvantage. There is a sure, effectual, lasting way to avoid this hijacking strategy of the enemy…
“Train up a child in the way he should go…, and when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)David made a decision to train his soul. Click To Tweet
Recently at a women’s seminar, a beautiful, fruitful saint shared a deep, fresh, and useful insight into this passage. She suggested replacing the word “child” with “your soul”, “he is” with “you are”, and “he will not” with “you will not”. These “substitutions” reveal an amazing truth which is, in fact, confirmed by David in Psalm 131:2 – “Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with his mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me [ceased from fretting]” (italics mine). David made a decision to train his soul, to teach it to not worry or fret but to be still and know that the Lord is God (Psalm 46:10). We, too, can choose to train our minds to think with God by hearing, reading, studying, receiving the Word of God, hiding it richly in our hearts that we might have words of Life in season for ourselves and for others (Isaiah 50:4), that our mouths would speak right things out of the abundance of the contents of our hearts, and that we might not sin or self against God (Psalm 119:11). We also can train our emotions to respond to Truth and to be set on things Above and not on things of the earth (Colossians 3:1,2). Furthermore, His will becomes our will because we roll all that concerns us onto Him and trust Him wholly with it all (Proverbs 16:3, Amplified). Our consciences have been purged by the Blood of Jesus Christ through His Eternal Spirit (Hebrews 9:14), and we are able to live in the maturity of God-consciousness, because by growing in Grace and in knowledge of Him we have “grown up into Him” in more and more areas of our lives. Our souls are weaned from childishness and we can handle with Finished Work poise adversity when it comes, because our souls have been properly trained. We are like the blessed man in Psalm 94:12,13 – “…whom You discipline and instruct, O Lord, and teach out of Your law [Word], that You may give him power to keep himself calm in the days of adversity, until the inevitable pit of corruption is dug for the wicked.”
“…let our lives lovingly express truth [in all things, speaking…dealing…living truly]. Enfolded in Love, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him…Christ the Messiah…” (Ephesians 4:15b)
Yes, let us continue to hear and take in and mix faith with the Truth, and walk in it, and to let the Word in us be tried by Himself (Psalm 105:19) until we have grown into [completed salvation] where we truly experience what we know. Let us follow the examples of Samuel, who, as a child, “grew, and was in favor, both with God and with man” (I Samuel 2:26); the Lord Jesus Himself, as a Child, Who … “grew and became strong in spirit, filled with Wisdom, and the Grace of God was upon Him.” (Luke 2:40) and Who [grew] in Wisdom (in broad and full understanding and in stature and years, and in favor with God and with man” (v.52).
Let us not refuse to “train up [our souls] in the way [they] should go”. The results of such negligence are devastating: the love of many will grow cold (Matthew 24:12); thorns will grow up in the soul and choke the Word it so desperately needs to respond to (Matthew 13:7); our eyes (our spiritual perception) will grow dim and we will not see things clearly as they really are in our lives, in others’, in the world at large (1 Samuel 3:2).
Let all of us rather embrace this possibility, this promise, until we are Home with Him: “And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly [growing] into His very own image from one degree of glory to another; …” (2 Corinthians 3:18)