I may philosophize here a bit… Watching things grow is both fascinating and frustrating. The fields all around my place are today seven feet tall with corn – we’ve seen days with six inches of growth in one day. The garden is another amazing thing to slow down and watch grow. Early on things were tentative as stressors (even enemies – deer, rabbits, bugs, wind) fought against growth. Weeding, strategically placed bullets, staking, blocking wind, watering, fertilizing all helped the plants press through key stages.
Watching my kids grow is both fascinating and frustrating. There have been days I wish they were further along and days when time flew by and I’ve lamented they grew up too quickly. Watching church growth, or working toward church growth, has taught me more about the patience of God with us than anything else. But on our end, I’m struck by the simple observation that things grow when they are planted. Kids grow better when planted in stable and loving two parent homes (every study confirms this). Churches grow better when people settle in and love and serve God and each other for the long haul. There are many who want to grow, or who think they are growing, but resist being planted. Jesus spoke about us (you-plural) being branches that must abide and remain in the vine (himself).
Most human growth, I’m told, happens at night. Of course, this is a time when no one is watching. Spiritual growth is no different – it happens when no one is watching, and even especially during the dark moments. Interesting how those key growth moments are the moments people tend to pull away from others in the Body.
One of my frequent sayings at CATG is that it’s not God’s Will you be in the same place spiritually you were last year this time, or five years ago. I suggest we “mark the wall” every year and measure ourselves against that mark several times a years. Ask the hard questions, why am I not growing? Make sure you are growing evenly – in wisdom, stature, favor with God and man. We can grow smarter but lose our tender heart toward God. Strategically place “bullets” on that which is stifling your growth. Really, kill it or it’ll kill you. Never pull yourself away from environments that facilitate growth. Monitor your growth in God.