FLETCH: Growing Intentionally
My youngest daughter is having “growing pains.” Her legs hurt, her body aches for no apparent reason, she gets emotional over seemingly insignificant things. She’s 12 so it’s a natural part of life. I’m glad she is growing, it’s a sign that her mind, body and emotions are maturing. She is growing into a beautiful young girl who loves Christ and has a desire to see her friends know Jesus as well.
Growing is a natural part of all of our lives. But while there is an automatic aspect to growth as we get older there is also a very intentional part of growing. Physically, we can help along our growth by eating healthy and exercising. Spiritually, the Holy Spirit is always at work in our lives, conforming us to the image of Christ. But we have the privilege of participating in our spiritual growth as well. The challenge for disciples is to not get stagnet or lazy and think that our participation doesn’t matter. While I firmly believe that we are saved by faith and sanctified by faith, I also firmly believe that God wants us to be a part of the process He is taking us through to be more like Jesus.
For instance, God provides us with His Word, the Bible. When we read it the Holy Spirit works in us to understand and apply it. However, WE HAVE TO READ IT. God won’t read it for us. God provides us with excellent communicators, like Andrew, BUT WE HAVE TO LISTEN AND ENGAGE in the sermon. God provides us with a direct line of communication with Him, BUT WE HAVE TO ACTUALLY PRAY. God provides us with friends, BUT WE HAVE TO LOVE THEM. Do you see where I am going with all of this? We have to be intentional about our own growth as a disciple.
Now, we know that growth can happen through some of these spiritual disciplines, but we also grow through the circumstances of our daily lives. We face trials and temptations and we grow through them as we pay attention to how they shape us, how we react to them, how we apply the gospel to them. We face suffering in various ways and we grow through that suffering by trusting in God, being patient with what He is doing and latching hold of God with a death grip.
Let us be intentional disciples. Diligently seeking God’s grace each day, preaching the gospel to ourselves, finding and searching out ways to grow in Christ. God is doing a mighty work in us, let’s join Him in the effort.
All for Jesus,