We arrived at the park on a day when the forecasted rainy weather was trumped by mostly sunny skies. That made for a rather happy crowd of kids plus their even happier mom.
The park wasn’t as full as I had expected on such a day.
But there was one good-sized group, probably from a school of some sort, if the group of uniformed teachers nearby was any indication.
The students were whooping with elation as they soared higher and higher on the swings. They shouted taunts, daring each other to make it all the way across the monkey bars. They shrieked and panted as they played tag. They teetered and wobbled and struggled to stay balanced on the see-saw.
In general, they played with the reckless abandon that only the very young can enjoy.
Except they weren’t young.
This was a group of adults – a few in their twenties perhaps, and many quite older.
I whisper-yelled a rebuke toward my kids for staring at them in confusion and wonder, even as I stole glances myself.
A fully grown adult having the mind of a child is an abnormality. It’s a sign that something is wrong. An indication of a serious problem.
I wonder why we don’t recognize that this is no less true for spiritual immaturity. There are many, many people who have for years claimed the name of Christ without maturing beyond spiritual infancy.
My friends, this ought not be so! It’s an abnormality. A sign that something is seriously wrong. An indication of a serious problem.
Spiritual growth is as simple as being connected to the Vine, but that connection doesn’t happen without intentionality on our part.
4 Aspects of Christian Growth
1.)Soak myself in God’s Word. This starts with the discipline of setting aside devoted time each day. But it doesn’t stop there. I listen to Christian music, much of which has Scripture as its foundation. I have Bible verses on the walls of my home. I practice memory verses with my kids for their AWANA programs. I make sure to have godly encouragement on my social media feeds. I don’t do these things out of misguided piety. I do them because I know how weak and faulty and flawed I am, and that I need every possible opportunity to encounter truth.
2.)Saturate myself in prayer. The beginning of a meaningful prayer life is having times of solitude in prayer. But I’ve also found particular joy in the habit of talking with Him throughout the day – my very best Friend, though invisible. At mealtimes I offer up meaningful prayers rather than routine ones. My children and I stop and pray whenever we have a problem or hear about a prayer request. I pray with my kids at bedtime. I pray with a small group of ladies twice a month. As Jesus told His disciples, we ought always to pray without giving up (Luke 18:1).
3.)Surround myself with accountability. Faith in Jesus Christ isn’t just about knowing. It’s about doing. It’s about living out what I believe in a way that affects all the moments of all my days. Being equipped with accountability is a powerful tool that serves to keep me focused on working out my faith. I’m so blessed to have a Christ-following husband and many godly friendships and family relationships. I’m active in my local church and in Christian communities online. Each of these relationships serves as accountability in my walk with the Lord.
4.)Season myself with service. Too much intake and not enough output makes the body physically obese, resulting in poor health and sluggishness. The same is true of our souls. For optimal health, what goes in must be worked out, and one effective way to work out my faith is through service. Service stretches me and keeps me dependent on my Savior’s provision. It keeps me in constant contact with Him as I come to Him often for wisdom, strength, and grace. It allows me to practice godliness in the trenches.
Spiritual maturity isn’t just for great heroes of the faith; it’s for you and for me and for all Christ-followers who are purposing to stay connected to the Vine. Will you make this choice with me, nourishing our souls through time in His Word and in prayer, and working out our faith through accountability and service?
Heavenly Father, You’ve created our bodies and our spirits with truly amazing capacities for growth. Please grant us the desire and the ability to choose those things that nourish us and enable us to grow up in You. Amen.