Live And Grow

Mike Focht 2/16/2024

Spiritual growth happens to us and not by us. We are all caught up in “how-to” books and do-it-yourself videos. Unfortunately, there is no DIY to spiritual growth. No one can cause their own spiritual growth to happen. We cannot make ourselves grow spiritually any more than a grape can make itself grow on the vine. Growth happens as we submit ourselves to the proper elements. Desire the pure milk of the word that you may grow thereby.

   Notice that Peter links growth to the Word of God. The Word of God can cleanse us, keep us from sin, set us free, build our faith, sanctify us, give us light, and grow us. Changes come when God’s Word is heard and kept through the power of the Holy Spirit. When the correct elements are present, growth happens to a follower of Christ.

   Allow me to give an example. Our spiritual growth happens in much the same way our skin tans. We simply place ourselves in the light of the sun, and the sunlight causes our skin’s darkening. We cannot force the process to go faster or slower. We can only tan when we submit ourselves to the sun’s power. Similarly, you and I grow as we submit ourselves to the places where God says growth happens! 

   A.W. Tozer uses the example of soap. When you and I wash our hands, we act as if we are the ones doing the cleaning. We say I’m washing my hands. In truth, the soap is cleaning our hands, and we are just submitting ourselves to the effectiveness of the soap. If you want to get cleaner, use more soap. If you want to get a tan, go out in the sunlight. If you want to grow spiritually, submit yourself to the elements God has designed for your spiritual growth!   

   Using alternatives to soap can be dangerous and leave harmful bacteria. Using alternatives to tan can leave us looking strange at best or with skin cancer at worst. Using alternatives for spiritual growth will leave us immature, weak, and shallow. We must drink from the proper streams, build on the proper foundations, and travel the appointed ways. Our growth will be proportional to our submission to God’s designed paths for spiritual growth. 

   Spiritual growth is not complicated, and it isn’t supposed to be. We complicate it when we rush it or make it into something God hasn’t. As we obediently submit ourselves to the forces God has established to mold us—such as the Word of God, prayer, and fellowship in the body of Christ—spiritual growth will happen organically. If we keep placing ourselves in a position where God can shine on our lives, we won’t be able to do anything but grow! Consider the lilies how they grow; they toil not, they spin not.

   God is calling some of us to grow by submitting our lives to the proper elements. More of His Word. More prayer. More worship. More service. More fellowship with His church. More distance on the old paths. More healthy spiritual light. Live in Him and grow to be like Him. But the path of the just is as the shining light that shines more and more unto the perfect day.