Friday, October 26, 2012

Grow or Die

At a conference a few years ago, then 98 year old Jim Downing called together all those present who were above the age of seventy. He then gave them a message that only one of his years and stature could give to that group: “If you’re not growing you are dying.”
I’ve made a study of those who are old in years but are young in their spirit. They are still pressing hard in the abundant life that Jesus gives. They are people like Caleb who said “I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in.” (Joshua 14:11)
The one common denominator I’ve found with such people is that they keep growing. So how does one continue to grow as a person? A couple of years ago, I created the acrostic GROWTH to help me remember some key components in my own growth. They stand for:

God Caused
Response to Circumstances
Oneness with Christ
Word of God
Truth and Love in Community
Hidden Spiritual Disciplines

I need to keep a handle on the fact that God is the author of growth – He causes it. That helps me respond correctly to the circumstances of life, because by faith I can see God’s hand in all things, always working for my growth. I only have the ability to see and respond rightly to these life circumstances through my oneness with Christ, my unity with Him as I abide in Him. I am able to abide in Him only to the extent that I abide in the Word of God. I live out the truth of the Word of God as I love people in community. My secret energy source for continuing to grow is directly tied to a few spiritual disciplines that are largely hidden from view, but are part of my intimate relationship with Christ. Those are the elements of growth in my own life and I’ll work to unpack these further in my next few posts.

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