Having eight grandsons, my wife and I are regularly noting how much the boys are growing as the weeks, months and years go by. This is especially apparent when we view their older photos. Human growth is a miraculous occurrence. From conception forward, there is an astonishing and wondrous development of life culminating in birth. Likewise, the young grow into maturity—all a process of God’s creative power!
There is a parallel in spiritual growth.
We are called by God to become His sons and daughters (2 Corinthians 6:18). That begins with our spiritual begettal when God gives us His Holy Spirit and culminates when we are changed from flesh to spirit. While many Scriptures describe this (compare 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 1 John 3:1-3), note that the Bible also reveals this change takes place after a period of time.
Very specifically, the Church and ministry are established to help in our spiritual growth, “till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13; compare also, 2 Peter 3:18). We know that Jesus Christ is the example to apply in order to measure our spiritual growth (1 Peter 2:21). He did not sin (Hebrews 4:15; 1 John 3:5); He conquered His own human nature (Romans 8:3-4); He overcame the world (John 16:33); and He defeated Satan (Matthew 4:10; John 12:31; 14:30).
How are we doing by His standard? Are we, more and more, “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5)? Can we say that “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5)? Is our constant goal to become perfect just like God is perfect (Matthew 5:48)? Can we say that we are a stronger Christian now than when God first called us?
Jesus gives us a powerful key for spiritual growth, and it is for us to focus on overcoming those things which are contrary to God’s Will. This is His message to the churches in Revelation 2 and 3.
The Apostle Peter wrote, saying, “…brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10), and in verses 5-9, he noted how Christians are to do this:
“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
If we grow spiritually, then we have this incomparable promise: “For so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:11).