I remember going through my growth spurt in High School. About every month I would measure myself to see how much I’d grown… until I stopped at 5’ 11 3/4”. I tried to do everything to get to 6’ but never did… even though I tell people I am. I wanted to grow taller so bad.
Have you ever felt that way spiritually? Have you ever been frustrated with your Christian life. You yielded to a temptation. You abandoned a commitment to God that you made. You discover that you are just not strong enough or mature enough to see your situation from God’s point of view.
The Apostle Paul had this same frustration: “… the good that I would I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do…” (Romans 7:19)
I can relate to D. L. Moody’s quote: “I have had more trouble with myself than with any other man I’ve met.”
I think many Christians want to be stronger, a better Christian – but they are frustrated. What can a person do to grow in their Christian life?
Jesus uses farming illustrations to talk about the Christian life. In the Parable of the Seed, Sower, & Soils in Mark 4:1-12 one factor in successful farming is the condition of the ground. But even in good ground, there is another factor in successful farming – a hidden power that is also out of control of the farmer.
And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come. (Mark 4:26-29)
This parable, only recorded by Mark, presents the steps to successful farming: sowing, growing, and harvesting. Seeds are sown. Time must elapse. And a harvest will come. The farmer can sow the seed and will harvest the crops. But the growth of the seed is a mysterious process.
I discovered two simple principles that will help you understand your spiritual growth. I hope it gives you encouragement.
1. Our job is to sow. God’s job is to grow.
The farmer is responsible to sow. Only God can cause the seed to grow. Once the seed is sown, the farmer has no control over the seed. He is helpless. He must patiently await the reward of his efforts.
This is the same in your spiritual life. Your responsibility is to plant God’s Word in your life – by reading, studying, hearing, memorizing, and meditating throughout the day. God will bring the growth.
In regards to our ministry to others, we have a responsibility to spread God’s Word. He will cause it to grow. We can help others understand God’s Word, but ultimately it’s God who brings growth.
This parable teaches that spiritual growth cannot be measured by a stopwatch. Just like our physical growth, it cannot be visually perceived. But over time, growth occurs. Growth is slow but certain.
The kingdom of God may be planted in us in an instant, but its growth becomes apparent only with the passing of time and the practice of faithfulness. Germination is spontaneous but growth is not instantaneous.
Yet, i is normal for a Christian to grow. If you’re not growing, something is wrong.
Our job is to faithfully sow the seed of God’s Word in our life and the life of others, trust God, and wait and look for signs of life. God has only commissioned us to preach the Gospel to all nations. The results belong to Him. Our task is to scatter the seed, nourish the plants and reap the harvest. The harvest will come. We must have patience, hope, and faithfulness.
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.” Robert Louis Stevenson