I've been wrestling with a question this week: Am I actually growing, and if so, how do I really know? As a kid, my parents and I would mark my height each year on a door frame. I knew I was growing taller because each mark would be higher on the frame than the previous year's. Which makes me wonder, are there similar marks of true Christ-centered growth?
"And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man" (Luke 2:51)
When considering true growth, we always must start with the model of Christ, nothing less. In Luke, we see that even as a boy, Jesus grew in wisdom and in favor with God and man. As he taught and served others, including the Jewish teachers, his influence for God grew and he worked to bring glory to His Father. Are you growing in these ways this week?
Growing in Favor with God
"And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will’" (Acts 13:22).
Known as a "man after God's heart," David spent much of his life growing his love for God, His law, and faithfulness to God's call. While not without his own brokenness, David's heart was pleasing to God. In exploring the Psalms - over half of which are credited to David - we see both a sincere and growing desire for God and a recognition of David's favor in God's eyes.
Growing in Favor with Man
"Then Achish called David and said to him, “As the Lord lives, you have been honest, and to me it seems right that you should march out and in with me in the campaign. For I have found nothing wrong in you from the day of your coming to me to this day...And Achish answered David and said, “I know that you are as blameless in my sight as an angel of God" (1 Samuel 29:6; 9).
Achish's incredible statements in 1 Samuel 29 provide us with evidence of David's growing influence for Christ. David's pursuit of God led to him finding favor in the eyes of a Philistine, a hated enemy, even so much as to be called "an angel of God". When we are truly growing in the character of Jesus, consistently experiencing transformation, and carrying out the mission God has for us, we begin to amazingly see fruit in and through others.
Growing with Your ELI Team
Take some time to reflect on the past 16 weeks of ELI. Please use the questions below to guide your thoughts:
- How am I growing and developing in the character and competencies of Jesus towards God's glory? Is how I connect and honor God today different than before? Look back at your Pre-Process Self-Evaluation.
- Revisiting Session #1: Relationships, what do my co-workers, families, friends, even enemies say about me in this process? Have I asked them?
- What might be some barriers or distractions keeping me from fulling surrendering to God and becoming a more committed follower of Christ? Revisit your Session #5: Courage responses.
- Am I in too much of a hurry to truly see God and hear His voice? Revisit your Session #4: Focus.
Let's not let anything hinder us from stepping into what God is calling us to be. I'll be honest, at times I know that I can sit in fear, desiring to not make waves rather than truly bringing about real peace. However, it's in our courageous steps of faith and in the discipline of the daily journey that we begin to experience Christ-centered growth.
I pray that each of us would be growing a deeper, fuller, and more genuine love for our greatest relationship: Jesus.