What do you want to be when you grow up?” Now there’s a question that most young people surely come to dislike. How many times have you asked it? There is an expectation of growth in life. We want our grass, trees and flowers to grow. We want our children to grow. We want our church to grow. Do we want ourselves to grow?
At the most basic level, growing does not mean just getting by. It means changing for the better or improving in condition. Note how Paul praised the brethren with these words: “We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of everyone of you for one another is increasing.” (2 Thess 1:3 NRSV). Their spiritual faith and love for each other were at least two things about them that were growing better, stronger or deeper.
The apostle Peter urged that brethren should “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ,” (2 Pet. 3:18). What does that mean to an adult? We expect children to grow but what do we expect of ourselves? Some physical growth occurs without any special action on our part, but... every athlete knows that strength and skill training require very specific hard work to “grow” their body and abilities.
Peter further urged the brethren (1 Pet. 2:2) to have a craving for the word of God. He said it would help them grow and there were some assumptions made:
That they would gather information from the word of God.
That the information they learned would cause them to develop as individuals.
That growing, even as an adult Christian, was expected.
Many of us grew up in houses where a door jam, or other location, was used by our parents to place a mark for how tall we had grown. Year by year the mark was expected to be raised higher. As Christians we need to see our “marks” and decide - am I growing as a Christian? Am I stronger? Am I more loving? Am I more tolerant of others and their weaknesses? Is my faith stronger? In short, am I growing? Because God expects us not just to stay alive, but to grow.