In the physical world, we don’t have to choose to make our bodies grow. They grow naturally from the day we are born until we reach maturity. Some of us reach our full height in our early teens, and others continue to grow into their twenties. Our waistlines seem to continue to grow naturally as we age, but that’s a whole different subject!
Growth is totally the opposite spiritually speaking. We have to be active participants in the process or we simply don’t grow. At least not as much as we are capable of. We might have little spurts here and there, but in order to have sustained and lasting growth, we have to be intentional about it.
“Change is inevitable, growth is optional”
I've always loved this quote from one of my mentors, John Maxwell. We can GROW through the changes in life or we can simply GO through the changes in life. It’s our choice.
Jesus also taught on this subject of growth when he told the parable of the seeds. In his explanation of the parable to his disciples, Jesus says:
“The seeds that fall into the weeds represents the hearts of those who hear the word of God but their growth is quickly choked off by their own anxious cares, the riches of this world, and the fleeting pleasures of this life. This is why they never become mature and fruitful.”
Luke 8:14 (TPT)
I bet most of us can relate to the anxious cares and the riches of this world that Jesus spoke of. They’re distracting. They’re constant.
Let’s be honest, spiritual growth isn’t easy. It’s even painful at times, like the growing pains we experience in our physical bodies as kids. We have to push through the pain spiritually to get to the growth in our faith, the lessons waiting on the other side of the hard seasons we go through.
In the next passage, Jesus reveals the key to true spiritual growth in the good soil:
"The seed that fell into good, fertile soil represents those lovers of truth who hear it deep within their hearts. They respond by clinging to the word, keeping it dear as they endure all things in faith. This is the seed that will one day bear much fruit in their lives.”
Luke 8:15 (TPT)
Jesus teaches us that the way we grow is by clinging to the Word and not letting go, even when life gets hard.
And when things do get tough, we endure those hard things with faith, not fear. Faith, not our own anxious cares. Faith, not the riches of this world. Faith, not the fleeting pleasures of this life.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be a baby Christian. I want to grow and mature in my faith. I would like my body to quit maturing and aging (enough with the wrinkles already!), but I hope and pray I never quit growing spiritually. I know I have so far to go and always will. Until we cross over into glory, there is always room for growth.
So how do we choose growth? How do we apply the instruction of Jesus to our lives?
It’s really pretty simple. We spend time DAILY in His word. Going to church on Sunday just isn’t enough, no matter how good the teaching and music are. We must choose to be intentional about soaking in His Word and His presence EVERY SINGLE DAY.
And the second part of His instructions are easier to do the more we stay connected to His Word. The more we know and believe the truth, the quicker the right verse will pop into our heads exactly when we need it. The more His Living Word lives in our hearts, the more peace we feel in the midst of the storm. Truth chokes out anxiety.
And all that time spent in the Word makes us “lovers of truth who hear it deep within their hearts.”
That’s where I want to live. That’s the soil I want to be. I want to hear his truth deep within my soul.
How about you, my friend?
It’s up to us to choose to be the good soil and keep our souls and our soil ready for growth!
Hugs and love,