ABut grow in grace, and in the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever." Amen. 2 Peter 3:18
AThe righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; To shew that the LORD is upright: He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.@ Psalm 92:12-14
This word grow as translated from the Greek is: to change into - enlarge or increase. To enlarge or increase our estate. To grow or change means that we will flourish like the palm tree - Grow like a cedar - Flourish in the courts of God - Bring forth fruit in our old age. These are not negative things. Change is not a negative thing.
If we are following Jesus Christ we are changing. The word of God is alive and written so that we would change and change and change. And each change is to make us more like God.
A static relationship with God is not a relationship at all. A static relationship is religion. With religion we can stop and get off anywhere we want to and still maintain our so-called relationship with God. With a static relationship with God we can easily be led astray.
We can fall into temptations
We can become unfruitful
We can abandon the brethren
We can even turn away from God
But with a vital and changing relationship with God, everyday brings new ground to break, new horizons, newness of life.
We can flee temptations
We produce fruit
We stick with the brethren
We draw nearer to God
We risk our souls when we bargain with God. God calls us to change so we can be more like God. An elder, mentor and friend of mine at age 87 told me, "A man or woman of God is always a teachable man or woman." Isn't it the truth.
The greatest opportunities in our lives have been when we were open to receive what God had for us and the greatest moments among those opportunities are when we received what God had for us.
Each time this happened we made progress in our lives. We allowed God to change us and every change that God makes in us is good. Let's pray that God will change us and not allow us to go another day without opening ourselves to Him in a way that change could take place.
There are ten things that happen when we are not growing or changing:
We can become stiff, callous and un-pliable
We can be easily led astray
We can go back to our old ways
We will lose our sense of urgency in the things of God
We will waste time wallowing in the past or even in the present
We will stop producing fruit - Think about it - How long can fruit hang on a tree before we just cut it off and throw it away, because fruit becomes rotten on the tree.
We can miss our calling
We can become complacent and careless
We will slowly turn back to where we have been
Lastly, God cannot use us, because we are not willing to follow Jesus wherever He takes us.
Sometimes we get into ruts and just stay there.
We resist change.
Sometimes we hold on to the familiar because its easy.
We hold on to old doctrines of men.
We hold on to our own opinion, even after new light has been shown.
We hold on to the world and what it offers.
We hold on to the past.
We hold on to our guilt.
We hold on for FEAR OF CHANGE.
Yet, God calls us to trust Him in a way that demands change. Each step of faith with God is one of relinquishing the familiar or the stagnant and receiving what God has for us. That takes change. It's not easy to step out on the water expecting God to keep us up, but we must if we want to walk with Jesus, because our walk with Jesus is a faith walk, every step of the way.
There are ten things that happen when we are growing or changing:
We become softened and pliable, easy to be talked to and loving to others
We cannot be easily led astray
We will not turn back to our old ways, we abandon them
We recognize the urgency of the things of God
We live in the now and don't live in the past, opening old wounds
We will be producing fruit
We will find our calling
We will become excited and careful
We will never go back to where we have been
God can use us because we go wherever Jesus goes
Are we the same person you were ten years ago? I hope not. If you are you have missed much life. God has a precious plan to grow you and I into an holy temple. A place good enough for God to reside. No! I am not saying that we can of ourselves make ourselves good enough to be God's dwelling place.
God makes us good enough to be His dwelling place. God designed a plan to purge us and live in us. Each of us, because of Christ, are worthy to be God's temple and together we grow into an holy church. Growing or changing does not happen at the same time for everyone. What moves one person, does not move another. Sometimes a verse of scripture will change someone forever and another will not be moved at all. Some of change easily and some of us change slowly and with great difficulty. All change comes from influence. We are influenced by everything we come into contact with as well as being influenced by the omission of contact.
It is important that we allow ourselves and our children to be influenced by those things that keep us on track with our faith. And it is just as important to dis-allow some of the distractions that can come our way or our children's way to keep on track. It is just as important to pull away from those things that distract us from keeping our eyes on Jesus. The direction we change will be the direct result of what influences to that change.
To hold to the things of God, we need to be influenced by the people of God.
To hold to the things of the world, we need to be influenced by the world.
If we are to change and be more like God, we will needaround those people that are going in the same direction as we are.
And then the other side of this is:
What we allow to influence us - we will in turn influence others the same
We become more like God - others will become more like God
We allow the world to influence us - we then influence our children with the same thing. This principle cannot be circumvented.
Think about this. God wants nothing from you that God does not give you.
God gives nothing to you that He does not want from you.
We change so we can be changed.
We are given to so we can give away.
We are taught so we can teach.
We are blessed so we can bless.
We are loved so we can love.
We are changed so we can change others.
God moves and works through us, via change.
If we hold onto what God gives us, we will get no more.
If we bury our talent in the ground, God will take it away.
If we use it, God will replace it or multiply it.
If God gives us a gift and we use it, God will increase (change) it
If God gives us a gift and we don't use it, God will take it away
If we learn a truth and teach others, we will learn more and more
If we learn a truth and keep it to ourselves, we will die with it
Change is inevitable. Create change or change will create you. Which is better?