Growth begins when each baby is conceived. The visible growth begins at birth in the Mother’s arms. That is where the baby comes into contact with love.
Although it is not the first experience with love. For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:13-14.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that He cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:11.
The Author and Giver of Love is our Father God. His love becomes vividly clear when we understand these two verses: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:16-17.
And to grow up spiritually, Jesus gave us two commandments to follow: He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40.
One indelible mind-photo is a little granddaughter coming into the church to see her tall Grandfather. She lifted her arms to be picked up. Her grandfather reached down from his over six-foot height and lifted his three-year-old granddaughter into his strong arms and hugged her. This picture I saw became every young child learning to follow God’s teaching and obey His commandments. She was not afraid. She adored her Grandfather.
What does it take to grow up spiritually, to be mature in Christ?
A Mature Christian is known by Abounding Love, a Growing Knowledge, a Spiritual Discernment, Integrity, and Good Works.
Abounding Love–Loving God and others is an act of the will, choosing to live in obedience.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this, all people will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. Psalm 16:2-3.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1John 4:7-8. God and others is an act of the will, choosing to live in obedience.
A Growing Knowledge–of the Scripture to learn to discern what is right and what is wrong.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, to keep your righteous rules. Psalm 119:105-106.
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. Ephesians 1:16-17.
This knowledge is not academic but for a deep understanding of God so as not to fall prey to false teachers. Through a deep knowledge of God’s word, they can test what edifies and glorifies God and what does not.
Spiritual Integrity is the mark of being able to know what is sincerely pure and blameless until Jesus comes. Understanding the need for humility and struggle with sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Romans 7:15. This is Paul’s struggle. Although Paul the Apostle, chosen by God and worked for Him, knew the struggle to obey all the commands.
The Grown-Up Christian does many Good Works. God plans for each of us, and He has prepared works for us long before we are born. Just as fruit is known by the kind of tree it grows on, so the fruit we bear reflects the fruit of Christ in his character. We reflect the love of God as a grown-up person who thinks of others more than themselves.
(Be) filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:11.
Why do Christians worship and praise God? When we give Him Thanks, when we follow Him, and teach others of God’s blessings and glorify God we grow in His Spirit.
The fruit of righteousness comes through Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:11.)
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31.
A sweet memory from 3 years ago becomes known. Visiting my husband in Memory Care, we listen to this hymn–these words penetrate his memory loss and he understands. Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee, How great Thou art, how great Thou art. Tears come as we talk about the blessings of our God. I ask what he will do when he stops breathing. He answers, “I will say, Here I am, Lord, please let me in.” My husband may not remember me, but he remembers our Lord. We hold hands and praise God together and continue to grow, for this is part of our growing season. Our hearts fill with the Joy of our Heavenly Spring, just around the corner.