from our writer in residence (almost) Geoff Tittyung… 

We’d all like to believe that we’re growing. None of us wants to look back after twenty, thirty, or forty years only to realize that we’re the same person we were at eighteen; acting the same way, making the same decisions. Most of us tend to equate change with growth. When life circumstances change we assume we’re growing and maturing alongside. While change is inevitable and happens to everyone, growth— real growth requires concerted effort.


As followers of Christ, too often we mistake our tenure as believers for Christian maturity. We are fooled into believing that changes to life situations, whether it is in ministry, career or family mean that we have learned to more closely emulate Jesus. This is simply not true.


Rather, Christian maturity comes with active cooperation with the Spirit of God as it produces fruit in our life while we respond to its leading and properly apply Scripture. We do not grow by osmosis or by sleeping with a Bible under our pillows (or sleeping through a sermon! No! We’d never do that!)


More than that, since the Lord designed us for community, we grow best when we are engaged with other believers. We grow when we come to view the church less as a social institution and more as an opportunity to learn, apply, and see the example of Christ modeled by others. This is the type of environment we see demonstrated by the first Christians who “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”


The Christian life, rather than being a momentary acknowledgement of Christ, is a persistent obedience motivated by love and gratitude to our Savior. It is progressive conformity to the image of Christ. That progress occurs most often when we partner with the Spirit and other believers. One day, Lord-willing, we will look back upon our years and praise the Lord at how he has grown and developed us.