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  • Writer's pictureKandi Swift

Choose Growth

"....we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” Ephesians 4:15, ESV

I recently adopted a little puppy, the first time I’ve ever had one so small and young. The funny thing is that I said I would never have dogs in my house. Well …. famous last words, I now have two! Just before my daughter went off to college, she kept encouraging me to get a dog to keep me company since I would be a first-time empty nester. She had good intentions and only wanted to make sure I wasn’t all alone. I started slowly entertaining the idea, with certain criteria in mind: it must be a small breed and cannot shed. I found pup number one and he’s been a great addition to the family, providing much needed company. Since then, my daughter has graduated and moved back in for a season, bringing her own pup (which she didn’t have when she moved out). She and her dog are now preparing to move out again. So, guess what? Yep! She presented the idea that I needed a second one to keep my little guy company when she moves out, because now he’s used to having a playmate. I resisted, but she eventually got me. We came across cute little Daisy, so I decided to go ahead and adopt her…..for Cooper’s sake, of course!


We were told that Daisy was eight weeks old when we picked her up. However, after getting her home, we found that she was unable to eat regular kibble because her teeth weren’t quite ready for it yet, discovering she was only six weeks old, not eight. I had to find a way to feed her, making sure she received the proper nutrition, so I started softening her kibble in water to allow her to eat it more easily. It was like taking care of a newborn infant in a lot of ways. She woke me up early to eat, then I had to prepare the food, take her out to potty, let her play a little and then back to sleep she would go. This continued for several weeks until one day, she just didn’t want the soft food anymore. I prepared it, but she refused. So, I offered her the harder kibble and she went to town! It was amazing as I watched her transition on her own, without my prompting. Yes, she’s still quite a puppy, but she’s on to the next stage and decided baby food was no longer enough.


As I sat there watching her eat the “big kid” food, it made me think about us as believers. When we first accept Christ as our Savior, we are new and young, just trying to understand how a relationship with God works and what the bible has to say about salvation. During this time, we learn how to pray and that He loves us unconditionally; the fundamentals, or the milk of the word. As we start to grow in our relationship, we begin to understand what pleases God. Through spiritual growth, we make the decision to put away things that aren’t Christ-like, becoming more mature and desiring “solid food”. It’s a natural progression as we grow in Christ. Soon, the “soft food” is no longer enough and we start hungering for more of God. We can’t be forced to choose the more mature things, it has to be something we desire, and from this, growth naturally occurs. I noticed my puppy would take a nibble or two of the soft food, but it was no longer fulfilling her, she had a greater hunger to meet the level of growth taking place in her. The same it is as we mature in our walk with Christ; the meatier things of the word are required in order to provide the “nutrition” for continued growth. One day, my puppy will stop growing. For us, until Christ returns, we will always be growing and maturing as long as we choose to do so.


What if we have a desire to grow, or are in a place where we feel stagnant, but don’t know what to do or where to go from here? The foundation necessary to spiritual growth, no matter where we are in our journey, is prayer and study of scripture. Through prayer, we grow closer to God and, by studying the scriptures, we grow in the knowledge of God. The challenge becomes applying what we’ve learned, but this is where true growth occurs. It’s not always easy or fun to learn that the things of our flesh aren’t pleasing to God, because it means we have to start letting some of that stuff go. Thankfully, He gives us this promise that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, and that strength comes from spending time in His presence. Sometimes we have to make a conscious effort to press in just a little more, spend a little more time. If we seek, we will find and if we ask, we will receive. The next level of growth is within our reach.


Scriptures

“So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Colossians 1:10, ESV


“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV


“So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” Ephesians 4:14-15, ESV

 

Prayer:

Lord, I choose to draw closer to You in prayer and study, the foundation for spiritual growth. Show me the things that aren’t pleasing to You and give me the strength to lay them down so that I may grow up in every way in Christ.

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