Get Out Of Your Aquarium

Charles Simpson tells a story about meeting a young man who dives for exotic fish for aquariums.

The young man said one of the most popular aquarium fish is the shark. He explained that if you catch a small shark and confine it, it will stay a size proportionate to the aquarium. Sharks can be six inches long yet fully matured. But if you turn them loose in the ocean, they grow to their normal length of eight feet.

Simpson said, “That also happens to some Christians. I’ve seen some of the cutest little six-inch Christians who swim around in a little puddle. But if you put them into a larger arena–into the whole creation–only then can they become great.”

Growth while spoken of in various ways is a constant theme of the New Testament Epistles.

“but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  (2 Pet. 3:18).

“as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Pet. 2:2).

“We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other” (2 Thess. 1:3).

From the language used in this passage, it is obvious God wants Christians to grow spiritually. While there is much that can be done through the collective fellowship of the Church to stimulate and encourage spiritual maturity, it must be an individual commitment. George Eliot was right when he wrote, “The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice.” This requires personal examination of ourselves to see where we are spiritually (2 Cor. 13:5).

Sadly, too Christian many confine their spiritual experiences to a vary narrow environment. Some, only get a bit of nourishment once on Sunday morning, if that. You need to be out of your aquarium. Consider these four areas of growth.

How’s your knowledge of the Word?

Are you spending time in the Word? Learning more about Jesus? And engaged in some type of daily devotional or Bible reading program? You need more than is given in the aquariums of our congregations to grow.

How’s your relationship with God and Jesus?

Mike Cope observed in his book One Holy Hunger “There is a huge difference between working for God and being God. That thought is nothing new but when you’re in the business of making God known, it is easy to forget. There are light years of difference between knowing about God and knowing God.”

Developing your relationship with God is a daily, weekly and monthly endeavor. It is developed by time spend in prayer. Meditation. And thoughtful contemplation and deep appreciation for God’s grace, love and mercy.

Are you maturing in your discernment?

Paul commanded the Philippians to “abound more and more in all knowledge and discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent.” Discernment is the ability to understand and apply our knowledge. Discernment helps us order our priorities, handle the trials and temptations of life and protect us from Satan’s fiery darts.

Developing discernment is forged, not in the classroom, but in the circumstances of life. It is a deeper awareness achieved by learning how to apply our knowledge and exercise spiritual wisdom.

Is your character becoming more like Christ?

The ultimate goal of all Christian education. D. L. Moody once said, “Character is what you are in the dark.” And so Christianity is more about what happens in our daily walk, than in a church pew on Sunday morning. Christians who are filled with anger, ugliness and bitterness are immature, no matter how many years they have been Christians. In fact, a failure to exhibit the qualities of love, joy and peace in our daily lives show that we are NOT “growing up in all aspects unto him who is the head, even Christ.”

Discipleship is a process, not an event. It takes time. Effort. Energy. It doesn’t happen over night. And you are the one who must do it. As an old Irish proverb put it, “You need to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was.”

To paraphrase Shirley Conran, You’re never too old and it’s never too late to grow spiritually.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

2 Comments

Filed under Growth

2 responses to “Get Out Of Your Aquarium

  1. As Paul the wee little apostle to the apostles once said…what is Paul and what is Apollo (not gods demanding worship with threat of reprisal) but servants through whom you believed as the Lord gave to each one (his Cross his lamp stand as the beautiful Gate) so that this little tree branch planted in the ground as a seed watered by Apollo … would be and is growing with our stewardship and faith in Christ our Everlasting Father our CEPHAS!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Weekly Recap: June 5-10 | ThePreachersWord

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