A few days ago, I heard on a popular American television network a teaching given by a rather famous person on “spiritual growth”. In fact, I found myself in front of his show without any special intention. The teaching lasted about thirty minutes, which seems rather short when one considers the hundred plus conditions he listed one after the other, and intended to be put into practice by anyone who wishes to grow in Jesus. At the end of his show, I was almost depressed. Listening to this person’s vision, including everything that had to be done – or not done – to grow in Jesus, we were not far from a “magic” recipe, and that gave me the impression that growing up would be painful, if not impossible.
After listening to this teaching, I began to reflect on this subject, I remembered how I had known the Lord Jesus, and how, over time, I had grown in Jesus.
What does Grow mean?
Let’s start at the beginning: what does it mean to ‘grow in Jesus’ for a child of God?
- To grow in Jesus is to see your knowledge of Jesus increase, to learn who He is, how He is and how He functions.
When we first hear about Jesus, it is natural that we know little about Him. Over time, we must therefore discover Jesus, learn to listen to Him, to speak to Him, and to understand Him. This is how one develops a relationship with Him, and as one becomes more and more comfortable with Jesus, one develops a deep friendship with Him.
- To grow in Jesus is to become each day more and more like Jesus, and to bear the same fruit as He did, which is produced in us by the Holy Spirit.
The role of the Holy Spirit in each child of God is described in John 14 to 16. When the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us, that is when we become a child of God, we are invited to listen to Him and obey His voice. If we cooperate with Him, the Holy Spirit will guide our steps, and lead us into all truth. He will also produce in us “the fruit of the Spirit,” described in Galatians 5:22-23, which we can offer to the world around us for their benefit. Ultimately, we develop the character of Christ, and we become more like him every day, in every way.
- Growing in Jesus is developing spiritual skills
As we grow, we develop new desires, new capabilities which, for us, become more and more natural. Thus, we can more easily desire spiritual and excellent things, such as praying for our neighbor in order to obtain healing, confronting the devil and his demons in the name of Jesus so that a person around us may be delivered from their influences, and many other similar things. By these works, we manifest that we are in the image of Jesus since we do what He did during his time on earth. We recognize that Jesus is the firstborn of creation, whom every child of God is called to be like in every way.
The result of spiritual growth is that we grow in our confidence that Jesus is with us, that we are children of God, and therefore, we are safe. It becomes natural that fear gets banished from our lives. This assurance is all the greater when one is aware of the plans and the will of God for each child of God, for each one of us.
Growing up is a natural process!
To get back to the question “how to grow in Jesus”, remember above all that growth is natural in all that God has created. Normally, no baby worries about how he will grow, yet every baby grows over time. Growing up is not the result of applying a recipe, for which one must mix various ingredients in order to grow quickly or not. Growth rate also depends on various factors, some completely beyond the control of the creature in question. Indeed, regardless of his will, a baby will not reach the size of an adult in one day.
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.John 15: 5
Consequence: remember that growth is not a target for each child of God, but growth is the consequence of our status as a child of God. All we need to do to grow is simply to be led by the Holy Spirit, and that, all the days of our life. By doing that, you will grow at the rate that God Himself willed and intended.
But how far will we go in this growth? To find out, read the next episode. Be blessed in Jesus!