The importance of growing
The birth of a baby brings excitement all round. But how sad its family would be if it stayed a baby! That baby was born for one thing – to grow up. If it didn’t, the excitement would soon give way to dismay.
That’s exactly how it is when we become a Christian. It is exciting to know that we have been born into God’s family. But God does not want us to stay a spiritual baby; he wants us to grow up. If we do not grow up, we will miss so much of what we have been born again for – let alone run the risk (like that new-born infant) of finding that our life ebbs away.
Even Jesus, the Son of God, when he was here on earth, needed to grow up in every aspect of life.
According to the following verse, what four aspects of life did Jesus grow in?
Luke 2 v52
If Jesus himself needed to grow, how much more do we!
Sometimes, new Christians can seem uncertain or even fearful of talk of growing. They perhaps feel it will lead to them somehow losing any special experience they have had of God so far or do not want to spoil it – especially with things they always thought were boring!
But we do not need to fear growing as a Christian! It will only deepen our experience and knowledge of God. Certainly the first Christians knew how important it was to grow in their faith.
Read the following passages. In what ways do they show that growing as a Christian is both important and good for us?
1 Peter 2 v2-3
2 Thessalonians 1 v3
Colossians 1 v9-10
Ephesians 4 v11-16
But how did they do it? How did those first Christians grow so much that, within just a few years, they had turned the then-known world upside down?
How did they do it?
The best place to look for our answer is in the account of how the early church grew over those first few years – the book of Acts. Let’s see how its author, Luke, summed up what happened.
Read: Acts 2 v42-47
What things from these verses do you think helped them to grow in their new-found faith?
Note that the passage we have just read began with the words “they devoted themselves to ...” This was not some flash in the pan excitement. They gave themselves to doing these things day after day after day. Why? Because they were so convinced they had found new life in Jesus and were now eager for that new life to grow.
Am I excited at the thought of growing as a Christian and discovering even more things about God? Do I recognise any fears in me at the thought of having to grow?
Let’s look more closely now at some of the keys to growing from the passage we have just looked at. We have called these keys: teaching, fellowship, breaking bread together, prayer, and having an adventure!
© Oxfordshire Community Churches 1999