From the moment we are conceived, our body is in a state of growth. While in the womb, God has designed us to grow to prepare us for the moment of birth. At the moment of birth, our bodies are designed to then grow, as a separate, living being yet still dependent on others for care, love, sustenance, and nurturing. Growth is life, and just as this applies to our physical self, it also applies to our mental, emotional, and spiritual self.
1. What are some of the seminal moments in your life?
2. Why are those moments important?
Growth means maturing. Where the immature person may grouse and grumble about his or her current situation (and believe me, I have certainly had my moments where I have done so), someone who is mature will look for opportunities in whatever situation he or she might find opportunity. As a young second lieutenant, one of the many bits of advice I received was to “bloom where you are planted.” While it is a statement to encourage excellence no matter what situation you are in, it is also a statement about maturing or always growing.
3. At what age did you first consider yourself a “grown up?”
4. Do you consider yourself as still growing?
The Bible is not silent on this issue. The New Testament is replete with examples of how, as Christians, we are to be ever-growing, striving toward maturity. A prime example is Paul’s admonishment to the church at Corinth. He was quick to discipline the church in Corinth for their lack of maturity in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3; “But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For a while, there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?”
This admonishment was a result of their in-fighting and agenda-setting. This got in the way of them growing in Christ. It can be frustrating working with an individual or a group when there is no real desire to get something done, or trying to teach them a concept. I taught as an adjunct professor at a Christian college several years ago. I would get frustrated when some of my students, rather than read the material, would satisfy themselves by studying via “the bold type” method - reading section headlines instead of the entire text. I readily admit that I was not the most motivated student as a first-semester freshman at the university I attended. My GPA that first semester was a lack-luster 1.7, even though I was a solid “B” student throughout high school; being in college presented me with a growth problem. I had no real motivation (so I thought) to get out of bed for an 8 a.m. math class on the other side of campus. Well, getting a zero-point on a five-credit class got me motivated, especially when I showed my father, who was footing the bill for my higher education. He simply looked over the top of his glass, looked me square in the eye, and said, “If you think I am going to continue to pay for this, you are sadly mistaken.” From that point on, it became a personal challenge to prove to myself (and my father) that I was ready for the “meat” of my education; milk was not going to cut it.
There are certainly particular experiences that can literally “grow us up overnight.” Seminal moments in my life include getting married, joining the military, having children, and in particular, the first time I deployed to Iraq. I found myself in literally a foreign setting, with the reality of war around me. It changed my outlook and how I would conduct myself as an officer for the rest of my career in the military. However, even in these singular moments of growth, they were (and are) steps in a growth process. Later in 1 Corinthians, Paul reminded his audience of this fact. He wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”
5. Who or what events in your life do you feel lead you to your decision to accept Christ as your savior?
6. After getting saved, how did you feel?
To “become” implies change, and in Paul’s case, he is referring to his spiritual growth, no longer thinking as a “baby Christian,” but rather a Christian who has grown to manhood. In Ephesians 4:11-16, Paul wrote, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
7. Who inspired you most in your walk as a new Christian and why?
8. Do you feel like your walk with Christ is helping you grow? Why or why not?
In other words, growth is not growth for growth’s sake. As Christians, we are to strive for growth so that we can be used by God in the furtherance and propagation of the Gospel; to proclaim Christ. Just as no child is able or can be expected to function as an adult, a believer who remains as a child spiritually will not be able to function as a mature Christian. Remaining spiritually immature leaves one prone to false doctrine. With growth (or some would say “age”) comes wisdom. To be effective in carrying out the Great Commission (making disciples), we must be spiritually grown in order to do so.
9. What can you do differently?
10. How can you help a fellow believer to grow in their walk?