Thursday, May 05, 2016

How to (not) grow

Written by Matt Wooley 

Last Sunday we looked at the Parable of the Soils in Luke 8:1-15. It’s a parable about who responds to Jesus and the good news of the gospel. But it also sheds a lot of light on the process of spiritual growth for followers of Jesus.
“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” (1 Corinthians 3:6-7)

The starting point-- based on the crop yielded by the good soil-- was that we don’t grow best when we’re focused mainly on our own growth. We don’t grow when we’re focused on ourselves, rather than the fruit of blessing others.

Growth is about getting bigger and taller, stronger and faster… but maturity is about producing fruit and giving life to others. (We’ve talked about the purpose of spiritual growth before).

Now that I have a little more space and time here on the blog, I would add that our focus should also be on Jesus. 

If you have a few more minutes, this is a good article about “knowing and enjoying Jesus” as the goal of Christian growth. It’s a good read and balances out the point from the Parable of the Soils.
"God’s means of grace, and their many good expressions, will serve to make us more like him, but only as our focus returns continually to Christ himself, not our own Christlikeness." --David Mathis 

The big, mysterious, and sometimes frustrating process of spiritual growth can be boiled down to something simple that Jesus said in Luke 10:27-28:
Jesus answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ...Do this and you will live.”

To summarize:
How to not grow: focus on yourself. 
How to grow: focus on God and others.

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