The folks at Facebook knew what they were doing when they designed the app’s “Memories” feature. Opening the app to find an event I had posted on that same date a year or more ago routinely brings a smile to my face. We’ve been vacationing as a family for several years now, and around our traditional vacation time each year, one of the first photos I often see when I access my Facebook page is an image from a vacation past. Ree and I especially like the photos that feature our grandchildren on our various trips. Our grandkids are still quite young, and even a single year marks huge steps in their growth. Watching our grandkids grow, up close or on Facebook, is a joy that’s hard to describe.
Growth is an integral part of life. And watching those we love grow is a special pleasure.
That’s true in the Christian life, too. Our entry into God’s kingdom is described as a new birth. “Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again’” (John 3:3). Peter observed, “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:23).
Once we’ve been born again, it’s only natural that we grow. Peter wrote, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (2:2) and “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
Another passage dealing with our Christian growth that has special significance to me is 2 Corinthians 3:18: “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” This verse reminds me that every child of God is expected to grow in Christ throughout their life. That is, God desires that each of us become more and more like Jesus with every passing day, until the day we are completely glorified with him in Heaven.
True to form, God provides every resource we need to meet his expectations. Peter explained, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3). It’s comforting to know God never asks anything of us he does not equip us to do. Even so, the Christian has a great deal of responsibility in the process. Help is available, but we must take the initiative to access it and apply it.
How is this done? By spending quality time in God’s Word. Peter reminded us that we “grow up in our salvation” when we “crave pure, spiritual milk” (the Word of God). In John 17:17 Jesus affirmed that we are sanctified by the truth (again, the Word of God). Loving, reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating on God’s Word are keys to our continued spiritual growth.
Disciplines like prayer and fasting contribute to this process as well. But central to it all is the inerrant, infallible, unchanging, Word of God.
It’s only natural that we who are born again continue to grow. And it’s only natural that we should take great delight in watching other disciples grow in their faith. So let’s commit ourselves to continual growth and let’s encourage those around us to grow in into the likeness of Christ as well. And who knows? Perhaps next year we’ll have some great memories to look back on.