We’ll be considering the topic spiritual growth today and with the help of the Holy Spirit, we’ll have a better understanding of why, what and how to grow up as a Christian.
“Isaiah 9:6 (TLB) For unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder. These will be his royal titles: “Wonderful,” “Counselor,” “The Mighty God,” “The Everlasting Father,” “The Prince of Peace.”
One would want to think that “unto us a child is born” and “unto us a son is given” is the same, but they are not. You’re firstly given birth to as a child but the giving of a son is as a result of the accumulation of training/growth the child has passed through to make him grow up. Prophet Isaiah spoke about the promise of the coming of our Savior Jesus and I don’t think he made a mistake in saying it like that. Jesus was given birth to as a child, but He grew up to become a blessing to us and that’s when He was actually given to us. The Hebrew word for “given” is “Nathan” meaning to entrust to, to be granted to… Therefore Jesus was entrusted with our lives, with the hope that He’ll save us and bring us back to God, but He didn’t get that entrustment as a child but as a Son of God. Nobody gives something valuable to child because he’ll waste it all. A child doesn’t know the value of what has been given to him. No good father leaves behind an inheritance and asks his 5year old child to take full charge of it, but instead, he keeps it for the child until he has grown up to be a son who can handle responsibilities.
“A son is a gift and a blessing because he has grown up to be like the father, but to reach the stage of being a gift and a blessing, one must have passed through necessary stages of growth.
Galatians 4:1 (NIV) What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate.”
As long as an heir is a child, Paul said he’s no different from a slave, why? Because he doesn’t have a good knowledge of what has been handed over to him, neither does he have the required skills to be able to coordinate things. As an heir, all what his father owns belongs to him and Paul again said he is no different from a slave, then why the comparison?
How can a child living in his father’s house be compared to a slave, It is because a slave owns nothing, as long as he’s a slave all what he owns belong to his master because the master owns him as a person. No matter his riches, as long as it can’t buy him the freedom needed, he remains a slave. Also a slave is limited in handling resources, he doesn’t have the full control of it, when the master says stops he stops and when he says start, he starts. But the difference between the slave and the child is that the child has the opportunity to grow up and handle all his father’s resources including the slave. He also has freedom while the slave is forever in bondage of his master’s command and wishes.
The Bible gave us an account of Jesus growth here on earth. 3 places in the book of Luke told us about this,
“Luke 1:80, 2:40; 52(KJV) And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”
The bible made us understand that Jesus grew up and waxed strong in spirit. Because he became flesh, there was a need for him to grow up in His spirit. And as He did, He found favor before God and men. In growing His spirit man, there were moments in his life in which he fasted, prayed and read the word of God from the account of the prophets to discover what has been written about Him (Luke 4:18). As you grow up as a Christian, the experience Jesus had is what you’ll experience as a person, you’ll waxed strong in your spirit man, you’ll be favored before man and God and you discover your purpose for existing in his word. Just according to the pattern of Jesus.
Having understood that a child has nothing entrusted to him as long as he’s a child, what then is growth and why does he need to grow up to be a son and is there a particular age for us to know when exactly he’s a son?
What is Growth
Growth is an essential part of life, there’s nothing in this world that doesn’t experience growth, from plants to animals, to humans, and even the organs within us grow. From High school biology, we are made to understand that Growth is the increase in cell size and number that takes place during the life history of an organism. As long as an organism exists, we’re told it grows both internally and externally. Since we grow in our body it is also necessary we grow in our spirit. The Greek word for “Grow” is “auxano” meaning:
- to cause to grow, augment
- to increase, become greater
- to grow, increase
- of plants
- of infants
- of a multitude of people
- of inward Christian growth
When something augments, it becomes greater. Therefore, Spiritual growth is the augmentation of the inward man of a Christian to become more like Christ. The more you grow, the more you become like Christ and radiate His glory around your environment. Let us move on to see why it’s essential for a Christian to grow.
Why must I Grow up
It’s very important that you grow as a Christian. If you want to live to fulfill what God has in stock for you here on earth, growth is essential. This growth is a function of the amount of God’s word that dwells within you and that you live. When you understand the reason why you need to grow, it creates within you a thirst for more of Him. Many of us want God to use us, but we fail in the place of doing the needful to make ourselves useful for him.
A Christian who doesn’t study the word to grow up, will forever be a mediocre, because he won’t discover who he is and what God has given unto him. Because he lacks the word within, he cannot exercise his authority over Sin, sickness, diseases and the devil. Spiritual growth helps you to know who you are in Christ and your right and authority in God’s kingdom.
From Galatians 4:1, we saw that the child though an heir is no different from a slave and must grow up to maturity in order to be able to handle his father’s inheritance. To be able to handle the treasures of heaven, there’s a need for you as a Christian, to grow up in your knowledge of the God.
Another reason why you need to grow is that nothing of the kingdom get handed over to you as a child, as you grow into maturity, your understanding of the kingdom lifestyle and principles grows, hence heaven’s treasures are released to you.
“Ecclesiastes 10:16-17 (KJV) Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning. Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness. “
King Solomon after many experiences wrote that, a land that has a child as king is very unfortunate because a child will always act as a child, he has nothing tangible to give. All a child can do is to bring down the things that have been handled over to him. But a land that has their king to be a son of nobles is blessed, because the son has grown and has passed through trainings that qualifies him for the assignment to be given to him.
For example, no one buys a car and hands over the keys to a 10year old boy to drive him, anyone who does that is on his path to death.
From 2Corinthians 5:17, we’re made to understand that anyone who comes to believe in Jesus Christ is a new creature. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”
He’s a new creature means that, he’s a new species, such that has never existed before. Therefore he has before him a new slate on which nothing has been written and he determines what can be written on the slate. But for us as Christians we are to write on the slate, what God says about us through his word. So the reason why we must grow is because we’re a new creature in Christ and hence, we live out the life that dwells within.
How do I grow?
Having understood the necessity for growth, how then can a Christian grow and what are the provisions available for his growth?
It is very important to know that the primary way a Christian grows is through the word of God and Prayer. The more a Christian studies the word, the more he becomes what the word says. And the more he prays, the more he lives a powerful life here in earth. However, there are some other provisions apart from the word and prayer that has been set aside scripturally for our growth. These are explained below:
You must be thirsty for more of God… Isa 55:1,Matt 5:6, Psalm 42:1
1Peter 2:2 (NLT) You must crave pure spiritual milk so that you can grow into the fullness of your salvation. Cry out for this nourishment as a baby cries for milk.
Your desire for growth is the very first thing in growing up. If the desire to grow is lacking in the life of a Christian, he will definitely have a stunted and prolonged growth. Moreover, our desires is what determines the actions we take in ensuring we grow up to become more like Christ. Apostle Peter made us understand that we need to desire the word of God as a baby desires milk. A baby is always hungry for more, he never gets satisfied. At the point you think he’s Okay and leave, you realize that within the next few minutes he’s up again crying for more food, hence he has to be fed intermittently. Therefore, the first thing to note when talking about how to grow spiritually is that you must be thirsty for more of God. The thirstier you are, the more you consume from the undiluted word of God. He that thirsts, will always be filled.
You grow through the word of God… Joshua 1:8, 2Tim 2:15.
“2 Peter 3:18 (KJV) But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.”
Peter admonished us to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Father. It’s important to note here that you can’t grow in grace without growing in the knowledge of who God is. The more you know the father, the more you grow in His Grace. The way to grow in God’s grace and knowledge is by studying the word of God. The more you study His word, the more it dwells within you. However, as you consciously study God’s word, you must also consciously live what the word says. Col 3:16 says; “let the word of God dwell in you richly in all wisdom.” The only ways you can let the word dwell within you richly, is by studying to understand the scripture. When you have the understanding of what the word is saying per time, you’ll find yourself living it.
You must devote yourself to Prayer. Mark 1:35, 1Thess 5:17
Prayer is very essential in the life of a believer. There’s no way you’ll study the word of God effectively and end up not praying for your life. The reason why perhaps you’ve not been praying well is because you’ve not been studying well. A prayerless Christian is said to be a powerless Christian. The reason why he is powerless is because he doesn’t or seldomly visit the power house where he can be really energized. The Bible talked about Jesus who prayed often and before daybreak. He arises early and locates a quiet place to pray to His Father.
Have you ever asked yourself why Jesus prayed, even though he is all that God is and has utmost power in his hands? He prayed because he was in the flesh, the Bible says in “Hebrews 4:15 (KJV) For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”
Jesus is our High Priest, but was tempted in every way because he was in the flesh and because of that, he prayed to the One that could save his soul (The Father). So, Prayer builds up. Pray in understanding and pray in the Holy Ghost.
Reading of Spiritual books… Daniel 9:6. Daniel had an understanding by books.
The more you spend time to read, the more your understanding about God increases. Spiritual book are a gift to us in our dispensation. They comprise of dealings God has taken some people through which serves as source of blessings to us. Some people don’t like reading these books, but the truth is they’re missing out and they’re prolonging God’s dealing in their lives. Because what they could have learnt from a book, will probably take them some time to understand. Books are very helpful, buy hard copies or download soft copies online.
Never forsake the gathering of brethren.
“Hebrew 10:25, forsaking not the gathering of brethren.”
The gathering of brethren is very important in our spiritual growth as Christians. The early church gathered together, shared everything they had together and also grew together. There’s a corporate anointing that operates in the joint gathering of brethren that doesn’t operate when you’re alone. We’re made to understand that iron sharpens iron, as you relate with fellow members of the body of Christ, your spirit man become sharpened and hence, you increase spiritually.
“Galatians 4:2 (KJV) But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.”
This verse is a continuation of what has been treated earlier. The child must under tutelage, why? It is for the purpose of learning and growing. Discipleship is what God uses to build up His own. Anyone that God will ever use, He equips and the process of equipping is Discipleship. The disciples were not only called and send out, they spent quality time with Jesus to learn from Him before they were been sent out. Discipleship helps to speed up your spiritual growth as a Christian by cutting away some excesses and distractions. There’s no great man who doesn’t have someone who at one point or the other that trained him to be who he is. Prayerfully trust God to help you get into Discipleship and submit to the right person he has planned for you to help you build up your spiritual muscles.
In conclusion, “Rom 12:2 says, And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The more the word dwells within you, the more your spirit man grows in conformity with what God has for you. Get yourself soaked with the word and prayer and see your life change through it. There’s no other secret to becoming a son who The Father can hand over His resources to, without growing up through the word and prayer. There’s also no particular age at which we will be able to say a child has grown up to be a son, the only way of knowing is by his life and actions. Therefore, the dealings of God in your life must produce a life that spreads around the fragrance of Christ. I end with this song which says
Read your Bible, Pray everyday, Pray everyday, pray everyday,
Read your Bible Pray everyday, Pray everyday, pray everyday,
If you want to grow.
For your spiritual consumption, you can download these materials online, “Growing up spiritually”, “In Him” both by Kenneth Hagin, and “God’s Chasers” by Tommy Tenny.
Thank you once again for reading this amazing post. God bless you. See you again on Thursday.