Norma Jean and I are in Florida for Thanksgiving. Last night we went grocery shopping, laying in food for our stay and for the big day on Thursday! When we came to the meat section, she found a turkey and said “Do you think it’s big enough?” I agreed that it was. But it reminded me of this story.
A lady was picking through the frozen turkeys at her local grocery store, but was frustrated that she couldn’t find one big enough for her family. As a stock boy walked by she asked, “Do these turkeys get any bigger?”
The stock boy seriously replied, “No ma’am, they’re dead.”
This story reminds me that the reason some people don’t grow is that they are dead. Oh, I don’t mean physically dead. But their senses are deadened–emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
The Bible speaks of one being “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). Of “being past feeling” (Eph 4:17). Of being dead while you live because of wanton pleasures (1 Tim. 5:6). Once a person is dead spiritually they cannot grow!
Ironically, I’ve had people say they will obey the gospel once they get their life right. Or a fallen away Christian promises to return to the Lord, once they “make some changes.” That’s getting the proverbial “cart before the horse!” You can’t grow while you are dead. One must experience renewal, regeneration, and restoration before change and growth can occur. One must become dead to sin, so they can become alive to Christ (Rom. 6:1-17).
Then you can fulfill Peter’s command, “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18).
But growth is a process. It takes time. Requires effort. Demands intentionality. If we are going to grow spiritually there are three things we should expect in the process.
(1) Growth involves Change.
The only constant in life is change! Since our lives our filled with change, accept it. Embrace it! And use it to your advantage. Believe YOU can change! You can grow! You can be a better you!
The Christian life is a life of Christ.. Christian commitment brings changes. A change in relationships. Attitudes. Habits. Lifestyle.
Don’t buy into the excuse, “that’s just the way I am.” If you do, you will never change! You will fail to grow!
(2) Growth involves Challenges.
Christians still have temptations to overcome. The devil wants us back! And he will throw everything in our path to hinder our Christian walk. The good news is that God is there to help us. Strengthen us. Empower us. (1 Cor. 10; 13; 1 Pet 5:7-8).
Christians will encounter the normal problems of living life. We are not exempt from trouble. Trials. And worry. God cares about our problems and will provide peace. Comfort. Hope.
We will struggle at time to remain faithful? Yes! That’s why so many of the New Testament letters were written to encourage us. Edify us. Spur us on.
(3) Growth involves Pain
Athletic participation involves pain. Training. Practice. Exercise. All involve pain. Paul pictures the Christian life with metaphors like a race, a boxing match, and solider in warfare. All of these invoke images of painful exercise. In fact the apostle graphically described the process in these terms.
“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (1 Cor. 9:25-27
Today, this week, commit to spiritual growth. Yes, it will require change, bring challenges, and cause pain, but the result will be joy! The joy of success! Growth! Victory!
But remember this. You can’t grow if you are dead! Accept God’s grace. Commit to Christ. Embrace and Obey His Gospel. Become alive again spiritually. Then you can begin to grow!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman