Mar16WedMarch 16, 2016
This week, our only daughter is celebrating another birthday. Typically when her special day approaches, my wife and I make comments about how we don’t want her to get older and that we’ll try to stop her from aging. This March hasn’t been any different. Yet, while I’m expressing “I don’t want you to turn seven,” I’m really reminiscing about how much she has changed within one year. She can read books on her own. She can solve math problems. She can paint her own nails. She can play real songs on the piano. And her ‘mark’ on the closet door frame has increased by three inches! It’s amazing how much children mature within the course of one year.
Easter, in many ways, is like a spiritual birthday for each person who has trusted in Jesus for everlasting life. Each year when that day approaches, we dress our nicest, gather with our spiritual family, sing songs of resurrection life and repeat phrases only spoken at Easter - “He is risen!” “He is risen indeed!”
Yet if you and I were to reflect upon our individual spiritual maturity from one year ago, would we notice any sizable growth? Would our Heavenly Father reminisce about how our love for Him, our sensitivity to His Spirit, our compassion for people, our pursuit of Jesus-like living, our commitments within the body of believers, and our passion to share the gospel have grown leaps and bounds? Sadly, the overwhelming answer would likely be “no.”
A few years ago, the Barna Research Group published a study which suggested that only 2 out of every 10 Christians consider spiritual growth outside of a Sunday morning to be a top priority in their life. Where would you be in this study?
Now our daughter can’t really stop growing. I suppose she could refuse to read, do math problems or play the piano, but her physical stature is going to change regardless of her attitude. Our relationship with the Lord does not function this way. It is true that “God gives the growth” (1 Cor. 3:6) but we are also called to leave behind elementary teachings about Christ and “go on to maturity” (Hebrews 6:1). We have been saved in order that we may “grow up in Christ” (Eph. 4:15).
As Holy Week approaches, I encourage you to pause and consider your spiritual growth over the past year. How have you matured? Where have you remained stagnant? How have you shrunk in spiritual stature?
The 6-week, small group study, which is coming after Easter, is the perfect opportunity to intentionally grow with other believers at FMC. But beyond that, I invite you to consider setting small and specific spiritual goals in order to mature before Easter rolls around again. Yes, the Lord does love us just as we are, but He also greatly delights in watching us grow.