GROWING UP

Generally, when we think of “growing up,” our minds turn to those years that one begins to leave behind childhood and start the process of entering into adulthood. Physically, this is what growing up is all about. But there is another area of growth that is much more critical because it prepares us for eternity, namely, growing up spiritually. Simply stated, the child of God needs to grow because this is expected of him/her. Paul wrote of “growing up in all things” in Ephesians 4:15.

There are several important areas that the child of God needs to grow in, and this should be the ongoing goal of each and every Christian:

To begin with, we should desire to grow in our faith. The Hebrew writer tells us in Hebrews 11:1 that faith is “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” The apostle John tells us in 1 John 5:4, “for everyone born of God overcomes the world” adding quickly, “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” Faith keeps us going! It is the vessel that will carry us safely from this life to the next one.

We should also desire to grow in knowledge. In the last recorded words of the apostle Peter, he emphasizes to his readers that they should “grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). The Christian who constantly grows in knowledge is the one who is “growing up” in Jesus Christ and reaching forth to spiritual maturity.

But if we wear Jesus’ name, we should also desire to grow in love every day. There are few areas Paul emphasizes as strongly as he emphasizes love. We often refer to 1 Corinthians 13 as Paul’s great chapter on love. Here he tells us that “love never fails”. In verse 13 of this chapter, Paul tells that of faith, hope, and love, the greatest is love. Jesus once asked His followers, “If you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Are not even the tax collectors doing that” (Matthew 5:46)? It is obvious that Jesus was challenging His followers to achieve a degree of love that was unprecedented in the world at that time.

While it is true that there are many areas the Christians can grow in every day, it must be conceded that growth in faith, knowledge, and love are areas in which daily growth is an absolute necessity. – Milton Smith, Bixby, OK

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