Are you growing?
I don’t mean in height or weight. I know I’ve stopped growing taller and have been unfortunately been growing in girth.
I mean, are you growing in wisdom? In favor with God? In favor with man?
Growth Is Hard To See
In Luke’s Gospel,we read in 2:52 “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” (ESV)
This verse ends the passage that recounted Jesus’ time in the Temple and His journey back from Jerusalem.
The overwhelming majority of the New Testament deal with Jesus’ birth or His public ministry (up to His death and resurrection). This is one of the few passages that we deals with Jesus as twelve year old.
We are left to imagine what that looked like.
Scripture doesn’t really tell you the time it takes to go from one event to another or how long they are in a particular place. When we look at Scripture, we as 21st century readers we have the luxury of being able to look over the years and see how God has worked among His people. It all flows together.
We can also see this when we look at Star Wars. We don’t see the daily growth of Luke becoming a Jedi. We are left to wonder many things.
In A New Hope, was the only training Luke received done on the trip to Alderaan? If not, how long was the time Luke spent with Ben training? If so, how long was the ride from Tatooine to Alderaan?
In Empire Strikes Back, we are left to wonder how long Luke was on Dagobah training with Yoda. Was it days, weeks, or months?
In Return of the Jedi, we don’t know how long it has been in between ESB and ROTJ. Nor are we told about Luke’s development between these two movies. How much training was Luke doing on his own to become a Jedi. Why did it take him so long to return to Yoda?
We don’t get answers to these questions. We must be satisfied with what the movies tell us. He was at point A and now is at point G.
We Get Glimpses
Through out Scripture, we don’t see the day to day events of a lot of peoples’ lives. To see how they slowly transformed from who they were to who they became.
One of the most revered people of the Old Testament, both in Christian and Jewish traditions is Moses.
Even with Moses, we skip from his birth and being put out by his mother on to the Nile (Exodus 2), to when he was a man. In Exodus 2:9 Moses’ mother took him back from Pharaoh’s daughter to nurse him. Then in verse 10 we are told that “when the child grew up” Moses was given to Pharaoh’s daughter. Then in verse 11 Moses is a man.
We go from birth, to toddler, to man in three verses. We only get glimpses of the grow of Moses.
We know (or at presume to know) that he was raised in Pharaoh’s court. We know that when he was 40 years(Acts 7:23), he kills the Egyptian slave master(Exodus 2:12). Then he goes out into the wilderness for 40 years(Exodus 7:7). And then he comes back.
And then he’s with Pharaoh. We don’t know how long it was in between each of the plagues. We can assume that all 10 plagues were done in under a year since Moses is with Israel as they wander in the desert for 40 years (Numbers 14:33-34). Since he was 120 when he died (Deuteronomy 34:7) and they wandered for 40, he must have been 80 when the plagues started (and he had been in hiding for 40).
We don’t see the day to day life of Moses. We see glimpses of it from time to time. But we see him born, we see him at 40, we see him at 80, and then at the last few months of his life.
What We Do See
We do see that Moses becomes a faithful servant of God.
We see him being used by God to deliver the Israelite people.
We see the mountain tops and not the valleys.
Do we look at ourselves on a daily basis and see our short comings and not see how much we have grown?
Do we compare ourselves to where we were yesterday? A week ago? A month ago? A year ago? A decade ago?
Are we growing? Do we see evidence of that? Or are we the same person?
We are reminded that we are to pick up our cross daily and follow Jesus(Luke 9:23).
We are told in Proverbs 21:5 that “Steady plodding brings prosperity”(TLB).
We might be seeing changes each day, but if we steadily move forward, we will see changes over time.
Be OK with not changing overnight. When we become a disciple of Jesus, we are a new creation but we are not perfect. We won’t be until we are in heaven.
Keep striving to become more like Jesus each and every day. Realize that you can’t do anything from a human point of view except yield to the Spirit working in you.
I challenge you to pray:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
You need to realize that you are changing, slowly, day by day.