daughter had quickly cleaned her plate and was reaching for
another biscuit. Someone at the table remarked, “Wow, you
must be going through a growth spurt!” Abi Kate quickly put
down the biscuit and put her hands at her side. Her
grandmother asked her what was wrong. She replied, “I
don’t want to spurt.”
It does sound painful, doesn’t it? We expect our children to
grow and mature. If they didn’t, we would take them to the
doctor to find out what was wrong. The same is true for
Christians. “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the
word that you may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). As disciples,
we never reach a point where we stop growing. We are always
learning, following, studying, and applying God’s word to
our lives. Just as it is exciting to watch new Christians
learn and grow in the knowledge and grace of the Lord, it is
frightening to see someone stop growing. Something is wrong!
It takes time to grow. It takes time to study to show yourself
approved (2 Timothy 2:15). It takes time to pray and have a
meaningful conversation with God. It takes planning and time
to assemble with the saints to worship and encourage one
another. It takes time to visit the sick, write a card to
someone, and go to a Bible study. It takes time (and patience)
to bring up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord
(Ephesians 6:4). If we are not growing as we should, the
question may be, “How are we spending our time?”
Purge. We live in a wicked world. Access to impure
thoughts and works of the flesh are now just a click away at
our computers. What do you do after work or school or on the
weekends with your friends? We need to examine our lives and
how we employ our time and see if there might be some purging
that needs to take place. To purge is “to remove undesirable
elements from” (Webster). In other words, we need to take
out the trash. We need to routinely purge sin from our lives.
David wrote, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and
gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice. Hide
Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities”
(Psalm 51:7-9). Want to have more time for spiritual things?
Take out the trash that is occupying your life.
Prune. Sometimes we can fill our lives with
activities that are not bad, but they choke out the time for
better things. In Jesus’ teaching on the vine and the
branches, He says, “Every branch in Me that does not bear
fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He
prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2). Christians
should be about producing fruit. Which activities, if more
concentration were given to them, would make a significant
difference in the spiritual lives of our families, the church,
saving the lost? Perhaps we, like Martha, need to prune some
activities and chose the better part (Luke 10:38-42).
Partner. We tend to do better when we have someone to
which to be accountable. Partnering with someone who will
encourage and even push us to do more will help our spiritual
growth as Christians. “As iron sharpens iron, so a man
sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17).
David had Jonathan. Paul had Barnabas. Who do you have? We
need to find a mentor or companion that will help us along our
spiritual walk; someone who will be honest, encourage and even
discipline when the need arises.
When we grow, we are capable of doing more. Part of good time
management includes purging, pruning and partnering to help
produce spiritual growth. Just as our grandparents may comment
on how much we have grown from time to time, our Father in
heaven is glorified when He sees our progress (John 15:8).
Growth spurts can be painful, but we shouldn’t be afraid to
reach for another biscuit!