2 Peter 1:2-4 (NLT)
May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises.
There many influential factors in raising a child to adulthood. His or her parents are not the only ones who have input into the lives of individuals. In some cases, mom and dad were not up to the role as parent so another member step in and help with this awesome endeavor. Some are left to their own devices while other take to the streets to learn lessons in the school of hard knocks. I have had many people play apart in my social development over the years. My parents were very young when I was born. My father headed off to defend our country while my mom was left here to grow up on her own. As time went on the marriage would succumb to statistical pressure ending in divorce. During the difficult years of transition, my grandparents would step in as a key role to my stability and growth. My father remarried and my stepmom would become a key parental figure as now my natural mother was struggling with addiction. It all worked together and I reached adulthood safely. This was my “village” and I am quite sure that you have yours. Spiritual development has its own cast of players beginning with Mrs. Strock the first Sunday school teacher I ever had. Louella Marks the next great Sunday School teacher who came on the scene in high school and fanned the flame of love for Christ all over again. Pastor Kenny St. John who challenged me to take a stand for Christ. Reverend Pigg who told me to follow my heart and try out the mission field. Once I reached adulthood, the enemy would have his way with me as I walked in the wilderness for quite some time. When I found Jesus waited, yet again, at the end of myself and falling fully into His Arms – I knew that it was time to stop wandering. It was time to grow up!
We need God’s Grace and Peace to grow in the Knowledge of God and His Son, Jesus. It takes time. Just like any child born or seed planted, it is a process. We don’t like processes because they require patience and waiting both enemies of the human flesh that demands its own way right now. God gives us EVERYTHING we need to live a godly life by His Divine Power. We have the Keys to the Kingdom given to us by Jesus Christ to unlock this power in our life if we want it. The Lord has given us precious promises that can only be obtained by faith in His Unfailing Love and Faithfulness to us. The absolute conviction that God is good. God’s Goodness and His Kindness belong to those who choose to mature in their knowledge and understanding of the Lord until it becomes the wisdom that leads them on their way through life. I want wisdom. I want every promise that Jesus died for me to have. I know it will be worth it if I choose to grow up.
2 Peter 1:4-7 (NLT)
These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
God’s Promises are not just about what the Lord will do for us and give us but that His Divine Nature will be our character and person. It is to become more like Jesus as we walk with Him. Discipleship is the molding and shaping of our character to fully assume our role as Children of the Living God. We supplement our faith with things like moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, patience, endurance, godliness, and love for everyone. This not what brought us to the Cross but it is what we take away from it in exchange for our sinful life. Spiritual maturity is nothing more than planting seeds of faith no matter how small and waiting for them to grow. Nurturing each seed in the ground with prayer, reaffirming it with God’s Word and doing everything we can not to curse it or kill it in the ground by willful sin, careless disobedience or abandoning it altogether. The enemy knows the potential of the provision for your life. He has seen the size of your blessings. He knows that power that is locked deep behind the underdeveloped parts of your character. He is working overtime to make sure that you don’t let these things come to pass in your life. I want to reach my full potential in Jesus Christ. I want every blessing. I want to unlock every ounce of power packed in me and let the Holy Spirit takeover my life. I have to grow up. It’s time to grow up.
I Peter 2:1-3 (NLT)
So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.
Spiritual maturity is when we get rid of “all” evil behavior. Everything in us that is contradictory to God’s Word and His Will for our life must be removed to experience the Glory that He has in store for us. Oh, that’s all (sigh). I proofread for a living. I pour over documents looking for grammatical errors, imperfect punctuation and illogical references. I can read a submission once and make changes. Go back over it and find more. The next time there is something, too. It is a think and rethink process that can drive you crazy. The first time I look over it the obvious errors stand out. The second time it is the less obvious things. But the third time is the hardest to do because I have read it and retained it so my mind sees what is supposed to be there rather than what really may be written. So often proofreaders will read the item backwards which forces one to really focus on sentence structure and content. I believe that to truly grow in the wisdom and knowledge of God and develop spiritual maturity marked by godly character – our life must be examined and evaluated the same way over and over again. How tedious? Yes. How boring? Maybe. It all depends what you want out of life. I want Jesus. All of Him.
Ecclesiastes 11:5-6 (NLT)
Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things. Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you don’t know if profit will come from one activity or another—or maybe both.
There are some things that spiritual grow require with the first being seeds. Now the Word of God doesn’t require big seeds but even the smallest put in the ground by faith has great potential. (Matthew 13:31-32) Good seed planted in good ground will grow. (Matthew 13:23) Sowing and reaping began in the time of Noah and the Lord has commanded it continue throughout the remainder of time. (Genesis 8:22) We do not know how seeds grow just that when we put them in the ground that they die and come to life again in the form of a plant that pushes through the ground into existence. We must plant seeds of righteousness in our life every single day even when we don’t “get it” or fully understand everything we are doing. (Hosea 10:12) Righteous seeds come from the goodness you pay forward every day in your life when you could have acted like everyone else but chose to be a Child of God. It is in the smallest gesture to the largest sacrifice. When we do anything to the Glory of God, trusting His Word, having true faith in His Character enough to live gracefully and peacefully in the Presence of God no matter our situation – it is a seed pressed firmly and deeply in the ground. It doesn’t matter who all participates in the growth process – it is always God who gives the increase so we do everything in consideration of our relationship with God. (I Corinthians 3:6-7) When we choose to live God’s Way with each step, it is like our feet pressing good seed in the ground of our life. God will increase you. But please be aware, increase comes in like kind but seldom in the same form. (I Corinthians 15:36-37) God will begin to change your heart more and more to see things differently, live outside the norm and walk beyond our comfort zone when we choose to honor Him. True cultivation in our life with Christ is giving what we have in full expectation of what He has to offer. It is not to demand our way and what we want but fully desire all that He is. You are not going to always understand or know what the Lord is doing but true wisdom knows it will be more than we ask or expect so we trust Him and follow in faith that the best is yet to come.
Psalm 92:12-13 (NLT)
But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God.
My husband is an excellent yardman. He keeps our property in excellent form. He is constantly walking the perimeter. He pulls the weeds, kills the invading ants, prunes all the bushes and cuts the grass. He is tireless in his efforts and the grounds show his investment. It is a constant process that demands staunch discipline especially when it is 100 degrees outside and the humidity is 100% yet after working all week, he is back at it on the weekends. He really is a keeper. This is the type of commitment that we should give our life in Christ to cultivate spiritual maturity. It requires careful attention. Each time we examine our heart and inspect our life, anything that is not fruitful or godlike should be quickly removed and remedied to move that area of our life into the Presence of God. Sin will keep certain areas of our life from God’s Hand of Prosperity and Growth. Unlike we drag it into His Presence, we will toil the ground with meager results. But once that part of our life is surrendered to God by faith and total trust that He will cultivate it then miraculous things begin to happen and supernatural outcomes. The fields of our life will begin to yield a harvest that we could never produce. We must let the Lord have His Way.
Proverbs 15:32 (NLT)
If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.
To plant a rock and expect an apple tree would be considered stupidity. To throw some seeds out in a field walking away only to return and be disappointed when nothing grew would be pretty dumb. Welcome to the church of today. We do not obey God’s Word and Way but expect Him to just open Heaven to invaders to plunder. We don’t want God but require what’s in His Hand. Just give me my blessing and let me be on my way. Discipline is essential in spiritual growth. I know – nobody likes having someone boss them around. Thankfully that is not the God we serve who offers only goodness, grace and unfailing love to those who seek Him. He is never harsh or demanding giving us the freedom to choose. Without obedience there is not faith. Faith requires obedience like or not – you will have or have not. There are many who experience minimal blessings and live life in mediocrity. In Matthew 13:24-30, Jesus shared a parable about weed planted among the seeds. The enemy has planted weeds in our seeds for far too long. There are many who live off the meager provision of sowing and reaping. If you plant anything of worth, you will harvest even with sin in your life. However, at the end of our life, God examines the fruit of our life. A life overtaken by weeds will not be one kept by God. Lord, help me remove the weeds among my seeds today. I want you to know me as Your Child when I meet you face to face.
Ephesians 4:14-16 (NLT)
Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
Those who want to live as Children of God must take the time to life proof. Examine the fruit of our life for those things His Spirit produces in us. (Galatians 5:22-23) Remove those things hindering our growth so we can fully respond by faith to all God’s Promises. Accept the discipline found in God’s Word as the wisdom to guide our life even when it is not necessarily something our flesh would like us to do. It is immaturity that keeps waffling us around, back and forth, up and down. To build a firm foundation of faith for our life and good ground for our seed, we must cultivate godliness marked by knowledge and understanding of God and developing an intimate relationship with Him. It requires careful attention to content and the details of our life. Finding those things blocking our blessing and keeping us from using the Keys to the Kingdom effectively. We will begin to harvest big when we sow good seeds in our life again.
Philippians 1:9-11 (NLT)
I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ[a]—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.