On the edge of greatness: Do You Really Want to Grow Up?
When it comes to our faith, the Bible says we are not meant to remain as children but instead to grow up in Christ. In this message, we learn six laws of spiritual growth and action steps toward a deeper relationship with God, and we discover the importance of feeding on the Word, developing spiritual habits, and growing together in community.
Something To Talk About:
- We grow when we feed on the Word of God: You can’t be spiritually healthy unless you feed on the truth. Feed on the Word of God. In Matthew 4:4, Jesus says this, “People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” God wants you to feed on the word of God a little bit every day, whether it’s five, 10, 15 minutes a day. If you hear the Word of God, and then you read it a little bit every day, you’ve got a better grip. When you memorize it, now you’ve got a really good grip. When you actually think about it, that’s called meditation. Do you seriously think about what does this mean in your life? Now you’ve got a grip and when you apply it, that’s the palm, nobody is taking this out of your hand. They’re not going to get it out of your hand, because you’ve got a solid grip on the Word of God.
- We grow when we learn in different ways: Imagine your pharmacy giving everyone the same prescription even though we have different ailments and symptoms. Imagine if every parent used the same rewards and the same punishments. If you want your kids to grow, we have to find out how to parent them with what works with who they are as individuals. Our model for this is God Himself. He always knows what each person needs. He wrestled with Jacob, whispered to Elijah, warned Cain, and comforted Hagar. God never grows two people in a carbon copy manner. But sometimes we think that is the recipe for growth. We hear a popular pastor or read a best-selling book on how we can grow spiritually and we figure if it works for them, it will work for us. That doesn’t mean we can’t learn from others, but we need to be aware that it may not work for us. God does not do “one-size-fits-all.” God has a plan for who He wants you to be. It will not look exactly like His plan for anyone else, which means it will take time, effort, and exploration for you to learn how God wants to grow you. Spiritual growth is hand-crafted, not mass-produced.
- We grow when we develop spiritual habits: Your habits determine what you are and where you go in life. Your character is the sum total of your habits. How do you develop habits? Well, you develop them by repetition and by practice. John chapter 13:17, Jesus says this, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” You don’t get God’s blessing for knowing the right thing to do. You get God’s blessing for doing the right thing. For practicing the right thing and for making it a habit in your life. The way you build any habit in your life is two ways. Through repetition and through practice. Here’s what many of us do. We read the Bible and we pray for a day or two and then we miss a day. Then we read our Bible for a day, and we miss two days. Then maybe you miss a month. That is not developing habits. The Bible says this in 1 Corinthians 9:25. “All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.” The habits you build in your spiritual life are going to pay off forever and ever and ever and ever in eternity.
- We grow when we help each other grow: You cannot grow to spiritual maturity by yourself. You cannot grow to be the person God wants you to be by yourself. We need each other. The more we involve other people who are strong in the Lord in our life, we grow together. It’s relational. Spiritual growth is relational. We’re better together. Romans chapter 1:12, Paul says, “When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.” You have to have other people in your life and the best way to be in community is in small groups. Do you want to grow? Join a small group. It is life-changing.
- We grow when we expect to grow: This is the faith factor. God blesses your life according to your faith. Whatever you believe Him for He says that’s what He is going to bless. If you expect nothing to happen, guess what? Nothing will happen. According to your faith, it will be done to you. Ask God what He wants to see in your life over the next couple of months. Is it to be stronger in some areas or movement in another area. Set a goal and say, “God, I’m expecting you to do this. I’m expecting you to work in my life. I’m expecting a miracle. I’m expecting a breakthrough. I’m expecting an answer. I am going to grow a lot in the next several months.”
- We grow when we commit to grow: Growth is a choice. Spiritual growth is not automatic. You must choose to grow. You must choose to do the habits. You must choose to make the effort. You make a choice. The question is where do you want to be in the next few months. Do you want to be more mature or do you want to still be the way you are right now? It’s your choice. A year from today some of you are going to be much better people, much stronger people, much more mature people, and others, they’re going to be in the same position. So, what are you willing to do to grow?
- Do you believe the best days are ahead of us? Why or why not?
- Are you content with your spiritual growth? Where would you like it to be? What needs to change to get it where you want it to be?
- What does the Bible say about spiritual growth? Have I committed specific verses to memory?
- What method of learning works best for you? How can you use that method to help you grow spiritually?
- Do you grow in knowledge of the Lord by reading Scripture and studying theology? Are you consistent in doing so? If not how can you improve?
- What’s one spiritual discipline (Bible reading, prayer, fasting, service, evangelism, etc.) you’d like to grow in this year?
- What is the importance of community as we seek to grow and conform to the image of Jesus?
- How often do you pray for God to bring about spiritual growth in certain areas of your life, and are you willing to listen when He answers those prayers?
- What is your level of commitment to spiritual growth?
- With whom can you share the goal of spiritual growth and ask for accountability?
- What was one thing you found particularly interesting, insightful, helpful, or difficult to understand from this sermon?
Take one thing home with you:
True stability in the Christian life comes not from planting two feet and standing still, but from putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward. The term Christian should be synonymous with growth. Growth is really all about improving your relationship with Jesus Christ. The Bible relates God to a father, bridegroom, husband, friend. We often make a relationship with God more complicated than it needs to be. If you look at the best relationships you have it is usually because you care about one another, you spend time together, and you value what the other has to say. The same things hold true for a relationship with God. The challenge is how does one improve his or her relationship with God? People are often unsure how to respond. The promises of grace suggest one answer; the experiences of life often suggest another. In the confusion, we often do the one thing we can’t do: nothing. What are you going to do to grow spiritually this year?