What is “Christian Growth,” and how does the Bible illustrate it?
The change of heart by which we become children of God, is spoken of in the Bible as birth. It is also compared to the germination of the good seed sown by the husbandman.
Or like the good seed sown in the field, they are to grow up and bring forth fruit.
Isaiah says that they shall “be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3.
So from natural life, illustrations are drawn, to help us better to understand the mysterious truths of spiritual life.
All the wisdom and skill of men combined, cannot produce life in the smallest object in nature. It is only through the life which God Himself has imparted, that either plant or animal can live.
So it is only through the life from God that spiritual life is begotten in the hearts of men.
Unless a man is “born from above,” he cannot become a partaker of the life which Christ came to give. John 3:3, margin.
As with life, so it is with growth. It is God who brings the bud to bloom and the flower to fruit. It is by His power that the seed develops, “first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.” Mark 4:28.
And the prophet Hosea says of Israel, that “he shall grow as the lily.” “They shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine.” Hosea 14:5, 7.
And Jesus bids us “consider the lilies how they grow.” Luke 12:27.
The plants and flowers grow not by their own care or anxiety or effort, but by receiving that which God has furnished to minister to their life. The child cannot, by any anxiety or power of its own, add to its stature. No more can you, by anxiety or effort of yourself, secure spiritual growth.
The plant, the child, grows by receiving from its surroundings that which ministers to its life –air, sunshine, and food.
What these gifts of nature are to animal and plant, such is Christ to those who trust in Him. He is their “everlasting light,” “a sun and shield.” Isaiah 60:19; Psalm 84:11.
He shall be as “the dew unto Israel.” “He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass.” Hosea 14:5; Psalm 72:6. He is the living water, “the Bread of God . . . which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” John 6:33.
The Christian must grow in knowledge, and this presupposes the fact that he doesn’t know everything when he first starts out.
“Faith comes be hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17
And “The righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith.” Romans 1:17
The more real faith we have in Christ, the more will we acknowledge our entire dependence upon him, and our own utter weakness. Let us therefore heed these words of the apostle: “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” Rom. 12:3.