TIME TO GROW!

Image of flowers growing

Read: I John 2:12-17

Reflect: It’s that time of the year again! When bulbs begin to poke through the fertile ground, and the barren trees bud to show off their beautiful greenery.  That’s when my wife goes crazy planting and replanting and throwing out all the old flowers and grasses. She only has room for what a beautiful garden on our 4×12 foot balcony. (text me, I’ll send you some pics!)  

GROWTH IS A WONDERFUL THING!

Growth is a wonderful thing!  Whether in the physical realm or the spiritual realm, I love to witness both, especially the latter. Here in I John 2 we see John addresses the issue of change taking place in the lives of children, young men, and fathers. Each are maturing and growing in their faith. Just as seeds grow into mature plants, Christians grow into Christlikeness. In the same way as there are dangers that flowers face, like aphids, cold weather, or someone just not watering them when they should (okay, I confess) there are genuine problems we face in the spiritual realm.    

John writes this first letter to all his dear children who are spread throughout Asia Minor. He tells them the most important thing: “their sins have been forgiven”. He adds: “on account of His name”. John speaks to fathers, the young men and finally returns to his dear children. Each portion emphasizes a different aspect of their spiritual growth in Christ. To the fathers he speaks of the past as he says, “because you have known him who is from the beginning”. They know what it is like to grow up in Christ, and how they have followed that path through a life-transforming application of the Word of God in their lives.

DANGERS THAT HINDER GROWTH

They were not the only ones who need to know and to grow in Him. John also writes to the young men, whom he praises for “overcoming evil”.  Even though all of us are prone to fall for the schemes of the Devil, it is mostly the young men (and women) who are often susceptible “to love the world or anything in it”.  John goes on to warn us what are the dangers that keep spiritual growth from occurring. He says: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

The world is Satan’s system which He operates on planet earth. Many of us have an addiction to something which isn’t good for us, and it keeps us away from the things of God. Some of us are looking at things which we shouldn’t be looking at, and some of us are boasting about the wrong things. Is it difficult not to love the things of the world when the temptation is so great? Of course it is!

IT’S NOT JUST YOU ALONE ANYMORE

Dane Ortlund writes in his book, “Deeper: Real Change for Real Sinners” regarding trying to battle this world alone. “If you are a Christian, you are now permanently indwelt by the by the Holy Spirit, and if you are permanently indwelt, by the Holy Spirit, then you have been super-naturalized. It’s not just you anymore. You aren’t alone. You have a companion living within you. He is there to stay, and he provides everything you need to grow in Christ.” Spiritual growth is so much more than watering plants! Let the Master Gardener grow you into His masterpiece.

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