We all know the awkwardness of those adolescent encounters with relatives or friends of the family that we have not seen in a while. You know, the ones where they gush about how much we have grown and how big we are, talking more to our parents than to us. We smile awkwardly, maybe shuffle our feet.
Now that I am an adult, having watched my friends’ and family members’ little ones spring up around me, I have been on the other side of a few of these funny encounters. I have marvelled at what seemed to be the overnight transformation of soft chubby toddlers into energetic kids and gangly preteens. Somehow, this growth, though expected and natural, is always a wonder to behold.
Our physical growth happens with very little effort on our part, and we cannot determine the finish line. (I may have decided to grow beyond 5’ 5'' if given the chance.) However, God calls us to grow spiritually, and when it comes to this kind of growth, the sky is the limit. Christ Himself is our example.
“And so we shall all come together to that oneness in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God; we shall become mature people, reaching the very height of Christ’s full stature.” Ephesians 4:13 (GNT)
As Christians, we are never to stop growing in spiritual things. As we walk in relationship with God, we are transformed into His image. We pray from a sincere heart, and He speaks to us with His still small voice, revealing Himself to us. We study His word in a spirit of humility, and He uses it as a mirror, showing us who He is and who we are. Then, He goes a step beyond that. When we surrender to Him, by the Holy Spirit, He bridges the gap between who we are and who we are meant to be - the very best versions of ourselves. He does not leave us to do this work of development on our own.What a relief!
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6 (NLT)
I remember being a little girl racing to the car after school with my cousins for dibs on the front seat. Always a step ahead of the rest of us (literally and figuratively), my oldest cousin Ceron informed us one day that there was a law that you had to be at least tall enough for your legs to touch the floor while your seatbelt was on to occupy the front seat. Of course, we did not question his nine year old wisdom. With disappointment, the rest of us resigned ourselves to the backseat for quite some time. I longed to be tall enough to “qualify” for the front seat. Strangely enough, when it finally happened I did not notice!
Our growth in Christ is like that. When we live in a right relationship with Him, we are growing everyday. It is imperceptible to us, but one day we look back and see how far we have come. We cannot take credit for it, but we should certainly praise God for His faithfulness in the journey.
Have you ever looked at a character flaw and groaned in annoyance or despair? I certainly have. I have rolled my eyes at my own impatience or jealousy or selfishness and wondered if I would ever be the woman God was calling me to be. I cannot say that I never struggle with these temptations anymore, but I can see progress and that in itself is a victory! When we ask God for growth or power to overcome, He is only too happy to answer.
“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8 (NIV)
Today let our prayer be, “Dear Lord, thank You for loving me for who I am while also seeing who I can be in You. Help me to walk with You and grow in You everyday. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”