When a child is born, he or she will grow very fast for the first few years of their life. Then they will have plateaus where growth slows. They will also experience “growth spurts,” during which time the child’s appetite will tend to grow, causing them to shoot up two or three inches in short periods of time. These spurts can be painful, stretching the muscles causing what is known as “growing pains.” Even so, as long as they are having them, they are continuing to grow. Spiritual growth is similar to this.
Christians go through the same process after they are born again. The first few years of our new spiritual lives we tend to grow dramatically, and begin exhibiting our unique spiritual personalities. Then we usually have times of leveling off a bit. From that time on, spiritual growth spurts occur causing much growth in short periods of time. Like natural growth spurts, spiritual growth spurts can also be painful because they are stretching us. But it is through such stretching that we remain new wineskins, which are able to hold the new wine that the Lord wants to give us. We should learn to recognize these spurts, and appreciate them as needed because it is by them that we know we are still growing.
In the natural, once we stop growing we start the process of dying. Aging is the process of dying. First we begin to realize that our muscles start getting tired more quickly. Then we start getting a bit sore with exercise. This causes us to get weaker as we tend to resist difficult and painful exercises, which then causes atrophy to the muscles. Then our eyes start to grow dim, and so on. We can fight this process, but at some point it is going to win.
To date I have never met anyone who enjoys aging, but it is presently a part of life that most learn to adjust to. You can learn to enjoy and prosper in the later stages of life. However, spiritually we should never begin this process of dying, but continue growing. We should continue gaining spiritual strength and vision for as long as we are on the earth because there is no limit to how much we can grow spiritually. Even so, if you stop growing, you will start dying spiritually. If you are not taking new ground in the spirit, you are losing it.
As we have read in Exodus 16:4, “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction.'” I believe this remains a test for the people of God, which determines whether they will walk in the Lord’s instruction or not. This is the test of whether we will get up first thing every day and seek fresh “manna” from heaven. This fresh daily word from heaven will help keep us fresh spiritually. When we stop gathering it every day, we will start to grow stale and often start to deteriorate spiritually.
This daily “manna,” or a daily word from heaven, can help sustain us and keep us in a fresh state spiritually, but we need more than this to actually grow spiritually. Growth requires more than what is needed to just sustain us. This is why a child’s appetite will tend to increase quite dramatically when they are going through a growth spurt. We need the fresh manna from God, but we also need the meat of the Word. We will not grow unless we are pursuing more and more depth of understanding, and more increase in our vision. As 1 Corinthians 2:10 states, “For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.” The Spirit also wants to move in us to search the depths of God.
Psalm 103:7 says, “He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.” Many are content to see the Lord’s acts . They will run to and fro to observe them. This is not bad, as it is never a bad thing to want to observe the deeds of God, but we must want more than just seeing His acts, we must desire to know His ways if we are going to grow to maturity.
If the knowledge we are finding does not stretch us a bit then we are probably not growing as we could. Many only pursue the knowledge that already agrees with their beliefs. This is an old wineskin mentality. This is not the way to grow or the way to truth. We must pursue knowledge for the sake of it being true, whether it agrees with our present beliefs about a matter or not. What man on the earth, or who has ever walked the earth with the exception of Jesus, has ever fully known the ways of God? So there is always room for us to grow in knowledge. Even so, our growing in knowledge, even the knowledge of His ways, should not be our ultimate goal. Our goal is to see the glory of His ways so that we are changed into His likeness.
~ Pastor Rick Joyner
|Pastor Rick Joyner is the founder and executive director of MorningStar Ministries and Heritage International Ministries and is the Senior Pastor of MorningStar Fellowship Church.|