Jonathan's Perspective  

Jan 14

'How to Grow'

What if you could order your life just the way you wanted? Would you be more productive at work? Would you be more efficient at the ‘have-to-do things’ so you can do more of the ‘want-to-do things’? Perhaps you could ‘order’ your kids, so that you didn’t have to deal with the constant battles and frustrations. 

Ordering our lives is simply taking the necessary steps to become someone or achieve something we want. We all wish we could grow and become more competent as individuals, but how do we grow? What are the steps? We tend to order our lives around our desires rather than God’s desires. We begin with our feelings then move to self-justification. Good growth comes when we recognize that God is the one who created us and who has the wisdom to direct us into a healthy growth. 

The Biblical order of good growth looks like this:

1.     We recognize the authority and wisdom of God to direct our lives.

2.     We allow God to teach us so we can think rightly about who we are.

3.     We learn to put that knowledge into practice.

4.     We experience the good life that comes from God’s wisdom.

First, we have to decide whether or not we will follow God. There are only two alternatives: to align our lives with God or our desires. Once we have decided to obey God’s wisdom, we can move forward to positive growth. 

Second, we need to learn all we can about God and what a good life looks like. Paul puts this beautifully, ‘Be transformed by the renewing of your mind, then you will be able to test and approve what God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will is.’ (Rom 12:20) We principally learn about God through the record of salvation history from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22. The scriptural witness is critical for us to gain knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. Without that transformation of our thinking, there is no hope for godly growth. 

Third, we put our knowledge into action. The Letter to the Philippians puts it this way, ‘Work out your salvation…’ (Phil 2:12) ‘Work’ refers to our physical energy, labor, and effort producing actions and speech. Change of habits requires both our work and God’s work. We can’t do it without God and God will not do it without us.

Finally, right thinking and right work will come to fruition which produces feelings of happiness, joy, and well-being. It is not to say that it is always easy and fun--nothing worthwhile is easy and fun. A good and competent life requires our greatest effort of study and practice. The reward is emotional and relational stability, contentment, and the satisfaction of putting in the effort it takes to grow as a man or woman of God. 

Are you growing in the knowledge and wisdom of God? Are you working with God to transform your thinking and habits? Think about one relationship or attitude that needs to change. Seek the wisdom of God in the scriptures and put it into practice. Then the peace of God will fill your heart and your relationships. 

Staying Connected,

Jonathan

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