The Dimensions of Growth

God expects His people to grow.

He gives us time to grow - "when for the time you ought to be teachers" (Hebrews 5:12). Youth grows into adulthood. newborn babies are to grow spiritually (2 Peter 2:2).

Christian growth is natural - as natural as a child's growth. It is normal - if a child does not grow, we know something is wrong. It is necessary - God gives the time, plus the provision of food, exercise, and environment for growth.

Our growth is four-dimensional:

1. We grow downward. When a tree or shrub is moving upward, you know the roots are growing downward. The deeper our roots, the richer is our spiritual moisture and consequently our ability to withstand trial and adversity. A deepening of our spiritual roots give stability to life. Deep roots into the Word will enable us to have confidence in a time when strange winds of doctrine are blowing in every direction (Ephesians 4:14).

2. We grow upward. When the roots go down deep, the evidence will be seen upward. There will be a greater thirst for the things of God. More time for prayer more intimate fellowship with God will be evident. This growth is silent and gradual in the direction of Jesus, becoming more like Him each day. "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Jesus " (Ephesians 4:15). Living as He lived; forgiving as He forgave; loving as He loved and enduring as He endured - that's the evidence of growing up in Him.

3. We grow inwardly. The inward man is renewed daily (2 Corinthians 4:16). When we grow downward & outward toward Jesus, we assimilate those graces described in 2 Peter 1:5-8. Inward growth makes us aware of our own weakness and gullibilities. Inward growth creates "the right spirit" within and the attitude that enables us to cope.

4. We grow outwardly. This growth is gauged by how well we relate to the people around us - family, brethren, coworkers, and people in general. The church is not a monastery or convent. It reaches out as salt and light in this present world (Matthew 5:13; Philippians 2:15).

Are you growing downward, upward, inward, and outward? Can you see the evidence of self-discipline; the use of time; the acceptance of responsibility; deportment -and interest? There is a great joy, in seeing someone mature in Christ. Let us grow up together in Christ!

By Clarence DeLoach

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