At times, growth seems almost effortless.The other day a friend of mine rescued a baby rabbit. She’s been feeding it with an eye-dropper, and the bunny gets noticeably bigger every day. The rose bushes in front of my house burst into bloom on warm summer days with minimal support from me. My 2-year-old granddaughter’s body keeps getting bigger, her vocabulary keeps expanding, and new facets of her personality show up every day. Growth is inevitable in the world God designed.
Spiritual growth, though, requires intentional effort. That’s why Peter says, “Make every effort to add to your faith,” and then he goes on to list seven qualities Christians should pursue: goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and love (2 Peter 1:5-7).
Spiritual growth has no age restrictions. Peter doesn’t say, “If you’re a teenager preoccupied with school and friends, you can wait till you’re older to deepen your faith.” He doesn’t say, “As a busy adult juggling responsibilities at work and home, you’re exempt from pursuing God.” Nor does he say, “When you’re old and set in your ways, you’re no longer expected to change and grow.” Everyday discipleship should be a priority in every stage of life. If we open our eyes, we’ll find God’s mercies “are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:23).
Every day there’s something to learn about the Lord and about the Bible. Every day there’s more to learn about the natural world, about yourself, and about others. What if, as you go through the day, in your mind you silently ask every person you encounter, “What can I learn from you?” You may never need to say those words out loud, but with that question in mind, you might be surprised how much you can learn from your neighbor, your coworker, the child who lives on your block, the restaurant server or grocery clerk, and others who interact with you.
Every day there’s something to do. If you don’t stay busy with positive activity, the devil will whisper ways to fill the void. Goodness, self-control, and perseverance don’t grow in a vacuum. Soul muscles gain strength from flexing in the real world of relationship and responsibility. Yes, faith grows when we sit alone praying and studying Scripture; but it also grows when we do our jobs, solve problems, endure hardships, and help others.
Every day there’s someone to serve. We mature spiritually when we practice what Jesus called the greatest commandments—to love God and love our neighbors. A friend of mine was sick for weeks, but while recuperating he befriended the hospital staff and prayed for the nurses who cared for him. Another friend, healthy himself, stays home a lot because of his wife’s illness, but he fills the hours by sending hand-written encouragement notes to others.
Every day there’s something (and Someone) to believe in. We don’t pursue spiritual growth in a vain effort to impress others or prove ourselves worthy of God’s blessings. In Christ, grace and peace are already ours in abundance (2 Peter 1:2). “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life” (v. 3). Ahead of us there is “a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (v. 11). Until that day comes, let’s be everyday disciples, growing in faith, hope, and love.
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Lesson study ©2018, Christian Standard Media. Lesson based on The Lookout’s Scope and Sequence ©2018. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.