I recently came across a story about a girl that died at the age of 20 named Brooke Greenberg. The thing that brought great intrigue concerning Brooke is the fact that although she was 20 years old she appeared physically to be a toddler. The news story about Brooke simply stated that she stopped growing. Doctors for years were puzzled about her condition, but discovered a gene mutation that stopped her ability to grow. For the last 15 years of her life she remained the same size with the physical appearance of a toddler. Eventually, Brooke was diagnosed with Syndrome X disease.
Fortunately, there are very few cases of this rare condition. Growth is a normal part of life. We experience growth both physically and emotionally. Unfortunately, we do not assume that spiritual growth is also a critical part of our development. This too is very sad and even tragic.
There are some things that I can do to contribute to the process of spiritual growth. Unlike physical development, spiritual growth can be impacted by what we are willing to contribute. There are certain things that we incorporate in our lives that actually prevent or stunt growth. On the contrary there are other things that cause and even accelerate growth. Here are some things that you can do to establish and sustain spiritual growth in your life:
1. Focus Your Attention: … that is, we must “center” our lives on Christ. This is the essential element in spiritual growth. Without a focus on Jesus Christ, no sinner will ever change. Paul declares in 2 Corinthians 418: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
2. Fuel Your Growth with Grace: … that is, we must provide what is needed for spiritual growth to happen. There are certain activities that become consistently “owned” by those who are growing spiritually. These are activities through which grace is made available for believers to grow. Here are a few that enable spiritual growth:
3. Fellowship with Other Believers: … that is, we must engage with other believers who are able to help us pursue the image of Christ. God has created us to live in fellowship and experience community with other believers. Spiritual growth is hindered when believers are not able to interact with and remain accountable to other believers.
Here are a few expressions of fellowship and community that are available within our faith community:
• Participation in the regular assembly as a church
• Participation in community groups
Paul Tripp provides great insight when he writes "We weren't created to be independent, autonomous, or self-sufficient. We were made to live in a humble, worshipful, and loving dependency upon God and in a loving and humble interdependency with others. Our lives were designed to be community projects. Yet, the foolishness of sin tells us that we have all that we need within ourselves. So, we settle for relationships that never go beneath the casual. We defend ourselves when the people around us point out a weakness or a wrong. We hold our struggles within, not taking advantage of the resources God has given us."
I pray that you look to Christ, His Word and His Body as you experience the transformation of His grace.
Our Pastor writes most of the blog posts we publish, however, occasionally some of our other church leadership (some staff, some volunteer) who also contribute to the New Life blog.