By Erasmus Makarimayi
I HAD a revealing exposure the other time during a chat with a young protégé who wanted to know what really is spiritual growth.
Of course, many questions and suggestions were thrown at me. Should we measure spiritual growth by increase in the number of congregants or miracles, signs and wonders? Is more prayer, more fasting, more giving, speaking in more tongues or more prophesying the only and real indicators for spiritual growth? While these may indicate there is growth but spiritual growth covers other aspects as well which we will deal with today and next week.
Defining the word grow will help in understanding spiritual growth.
The dictionary defines the word grow as to increase in size by a natural process. It also means to expand, gain, increase in amount or degree, intensify, develop and reach maturity.
To grow entails becoming gradually more evident and become an adult. Growth, therefore, involves many things in a process that carries you from small to big, young to adult and childhood to maturity.
Growth should be a nature in you that is cultivated through a disciplined lifestyle and positive and right choices. Mindset has to change as well as language and who to hang around with.
To talk of spiritual growth, you have to be a spiritual being through a process Jesus lays out to Nicodemus. The first port of call is to enter the kingdom of God by being born again according to the format of Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus in John 3:3-6: “Jesus answered and said unto him, verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him: How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered: Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
If you are not born again you cannot spiritually grow. It is simple; you cannot grow if you are not in existence.
After becoming a spiritual being you have to grow through food intake according to what you can handle. Paul teaches the Corinthian church that the food is given in relation to age.
1 Corinthians 3:2 reads: “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.”
There is food for the young and different dishes for the adult. Hebrews 5:13-14 concurs: “For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Growth depends on what you take in and how you take it. Outward manifestation will be a result of this. If not properly executed you can develop bulging tummy which will be my area of attention next week.
I always use the example that in grade one they told us that one minus two it can’t but in higher grades the answer becomes minus one.
There has to be a systematic teaching of the Word of God so that you don’t suffocate the congregation. Some nutritious food may turn out to be poison if not administered wisely. 1 Corinthians 10:23-33 teaches that there are certain issues that are prudent to certain dispositions but may be controversy in other settings.
The word of God, therefore, has to be meticulously handled to bring out positive results. Proper methods of interpretation of Scripture should be employed and the Bible applied correctly.
As you grow spiritually, the list in Galatians 5:19-21 should find no place in your life. It reads: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulation, wrath, strife, sedition, heresy, envying, murder, drunkenness, revelling, and such like: Of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
You should mould your life according to the teaching of Galatians 5:22-23 which says: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: Against such there is no law.”
Refuse to remain stagnant; get the right food for spiritual growth. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. Grace and peace be multiplied to you through knowledge.
- All Bible quotations are from the King James Version unless otherwise stated.
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