What does it mean to grow spiritually?
The Bible, in Luke 2:52, says Jesus grew in wisdom, stature and favor. In other words, Jesus experienced spiritual growth. Jesus, the Son of God, fully God and fully human, gained wisdom, grew in stature, and was blessed with favor from God, the Father. As we ascribe to do what Jesus himself did, we imitate what he modeled for us so that we can experience the same growth in wisdom, stature and favor that the Son of God did. To grow spiritually means that we grow in our knowledge and understanding of God and the world we inhabit. It also means that we grow in our relationship with the God who created us, ultimately becoming reconciled to Him through His plan of salvation and redemption.
How we grow spiritually
In order to find our true beginning growth point we have to go to our spiritual ground zero. We have to know how we got here so that we can learn where we are headed and identify the best path to getting there. For all of us, as humans created by God and in the image of God, the Bible teaches us ground zero is what is commonly referred to as “The Fall” which took place in the Garden of Eden, where God had placed Adam and Eve to tend to the Garden. Prior to the Fall, Scripture tells us that God walked among them in the Garden and they spent time together in communion. They were able to be together because nothing separated them. But all that changed with the events of Genesis 3:1-13 which gives the following account:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Why we need to grow spiritually
From that moment forward, after the Fall, people were separated from their Creator and would continue to be born in to the world with a spiritual darkness and emptiness. This spiritual darkness and emptiness indwelling in us fuels a longing for something greater than ourselves that we are unable to define, in part because of our tilted view of the world. We come into the world spiritually blind and separated from our Creator. This seperation spurns us forward on a journey to make sense of it all. Along the way, God lovingly pursues us, drawing us closer to Him.
Experiencing Spiriual Growth
Understanding our sin problem and how it came to be is a crucial step toward experiencing spiritual growth. Denying a problem doesn’t make it go away or cause it to cease to exist. We may not see it, recognize it or give it any creedence, but it lurks in the shadows, waiting for us to come to grips with it. Humans are a curious lot. We are forever in pursuit of greater opportunity and the promise of prosperity. We explore. We ask questions. We seek knowledge. We yearn to know why, who, what, when and where. The questions of who am I and why am I here and what’s wrong with the world cause us to go on a lifelong quest seeking truth, wisdom, and knowledge. This, in a nutshell, is what we call spiritual growth.
Next time, we’ll continue our journey toward growing spiritually. Until then…
Peace and Favor,
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Ge 3:1–13). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.