Monday, December 6, 2010

"Grow Up!"

Have you ever been told to just “GROW UP!” When I was little I couldn’t wait to grow up. I looked forward to each milestone along the way… turning double digits, being an official teenager, getting a car and driving, getting a job, graduating from High school, getting married and having kids. I wanted to grow up. As you get older, it seems the other way around. Time goes by too fast and we want to go back and be young again. But the fact is whether we like it or not that, we can’t stay babies forever.

As Christians and followers of God, we have to grow up too. We can’t stay spiritual babies forever. Our spirit person wants to grow big and strong in God. It’s our job to feed it what it needs to grow. If we don’t, we will become full grown adults with a limited knowledge and understanding of God. Our lives will become “Me” focused and solely dependent on others to feed us spiritually. Spoon fed Christianity. We will continue to be baby Christians who never truly mature in God.

Let me tell you a little bit about babies. Babies are cute, but can’t really do much. Their whole life is dependent on another person for everything. They can’t talk, can’t eat on their own, walk, or take care of their basic necessities. They are pretty much limited to what others choose to do for them. As a Christian if we choose to stop growing or just stay where we are spiritually (baby Christians), we are choosing to limit what God wants to do in our lives. He has so much more in store!

As we choose to grow in God, we will start to look more like Him. Our reflection of God can be seen by the God-like fruit in our lives that resembles Him. These are traits or qualities of God that begin to shine through us. As we grow in Him, they will begin to become a natural part of who we are as a person. We will become more loving, forgiving, serving, self-controlled, etc… as we strive to grow closer to God.

Think about it this way…when you plant corn in the ground… what do you get? corn… When you plant pumpkin seeds… you get what? pumpkins… When you plant green beans… you get what? Green beans… and when you plant God inside of someone’s heart you get… a life filled with the fruit of God.

The fruit that is produced on the outside of a person shows what is really on the inside. There is a scripture that says… “out of the mouth the heart speaks…” What comes out is what is inside of us… pretty scary. If there is ugliness inside of us, ugliness will come out no matter how pretty you make it look. We can not hide an ugly heart. When we give our lives to God, we should change … we should become more like Him each day. Our old life, ways, and habits should be set aside as we focus on our new life with God.

Ephesians 4:22-24 "…everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It's rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you."

When we start showing “God-like” fruit in our lives… it means we are GROWING in God!

What does that fruit look like?

"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control." Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)

The message version says it a little different…

"But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people." (MSG)

Growing in God and moving forward is a process. This growth process involves overpowering the pulls of the flesh or our old ways and habits, to replace them with the character of Christ. God wants you to grow beyond where you are spiritually. He has more in store for you than baby food spiritually.

We need to take responsibility to “grow ourselves” in God.
One meal a week would never be enough food to sustain us. One message a week and visit to church is not enough to sustain and grow us spiritually either. We’ve got to feed our spirits every day.

How can we “grow ourselves” spiritually in God? Here are some ideas…
~read the Bible
~pray / talk to God
~go to church faithfully
~memorize scriptures
~tell others about God
~get baptized
~find a place to serve or minister to others
~really worship God
~read Christian books
~hang around Christian friends who encourage you
~find a spiritual mentor to help teach you more about God
~go on a Missions trip

These are just a few ideas of ways you can “grow yourself” in God. Choose to grow and you are choosing to change. We are changing to become more like God each day. The more fruit we have in our lives, the more of Jesus others will see in us. Our “God Like” fruit can give us opportunities to reach others for God.

I love how 2 Corinthians 3:18 talks about this process of growing in God… it says:

"…our lives are gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him." (MSG)

Shine brightly for God today. Let that “God-like” fruit shine through you for the world to see. Choose to grow up! You can’t stay babies forever. It’s time for us to grow strong enough in God to lead the way for others to follow. You can do it! “Grow Up!’

Living to leave a legacy!

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