When children see the doctor for a check-up, one of the first things the medical staff does is measure their height and weight. If there is no growth, something is wrong, and a lack of growth is often an early indicator of a more serious health concern.
As God’s children, we should be growing too. According to Philippians 1:6, this is a life-long process: “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” In other words, God will never stop working on us and in us in order to make us more like Christ; and further, that type of personal growth will only end when we are with the Lord.
A few years ago I came across a list of five ways we should grow, and they provide a good outline for this topic of growing as God’s people. Here’s the list:
- Grow morally
- Grow financially
- Grow relationally
- Grow physically
- Grow spiritually
Through this brief series of five articles, we’ll look at each subject above, coupled with a few comments about Christian growth. As we go along, I invite you to ask yourself, “Am I growing?”
One of the first things people assess about you is your integrity. It’s essential to possess a consistent moral character. Even strangers will recognize something about your moral compass within the first five minutes of conversation; and if long-time friends know they can trust you, that is a great treasure. “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches” (Prov. 22:1).
Keep your promises, even if it becomes difficult.
Carry yourself with humility, not arrogance.
Do what’s right because it’s right, even if you can get away with cutting corners or taking advantage of others.
Be known as the person who’s always honest, even in the most basic situations (sports, board games, casual conversation). Even when people don’t need the whole truth about a situation (for example, you might want to preserve someone’s privacy or avoid hurting someone else’s feelings), it’s still not necessary to lie.
Exercise Your Conscience
Evil appears in many forms, and the Scriptures say we should avoid every kind of it. (That’s the meaning of the King James Version’s expression in 1 Thessalonians 5:22, “Abstain from every appearance of evil.”) Since that is the case, we need to have activated, sensitive consciences in order to recognize the implications of moral decisions.
For example, 1 Corinthians 10:27-33 describes a situation involving an unbelieving friend. Essentially, the discussion runs like this: Accept the invitation if you want. However, if during dinner your friend makes a point of telling you that the food had first been offered to idols, stop eating! Even though you know idols mean nothing, your friend thinks they do, and you don’t want to unintentionally encourage that belief.
Look how complicated a simple dinner invitation might become! But this kind of analysis, considering various principles and implications, becomes a moral workout that will exercise your conscience– which, according to Hebrews 5:14, is a mark of spiritual maturity.
If you think often about what is honorable and good (Phil. 4:8), the things which are impure will be easily detected. As you grow morally, God will be able to use you in more and more situations. Morally mature people are useful to the Master for every good work (2 Tim. 2:20-21).