Monday, January 30, 2012

Blog # 227 Growing in Faith

Blog # 227 Growing in Faith In all of nature it is easy to see growth, the grass in need of mowing, leaves growing on trees, puppies, gardens, children. What about our own spiritual growth, growth in faith and generosity, growth in our love for God and one another? Is it recognizable? Is i real? The first Bible text that comes to mind when I begin to think of growth before God is I Cor 13:11. St. Paul says: when I was a child I used to talk like a child, think like a child , reason like a child. When I became a man I put childish things aside. The full implication of the text is that Paul was changing, growing, perfecting himself as the years of his life moved on. A challenge of this text is to blend it with the text in which Jesus told us we must become like children. There is no contradiction between the two. Finding the truth in that statement is an experience of growth in itself. Other texts that remind us of our need to grow continually in our faith, in our generosity, in our freedom are all helpful in discovering the meaning of spiritual growth in our own unique personal gift of life. Col 1:6 speaks of the Gospel continuing to grow among the people of Colossae. Then in verse nine through eleven of the same chapter the author says he is praying for the people that they may grow in their knowledge of God's will and their knowledge of God Himself. Luke 2:32 tells us Jesus Himself as a boy grew steadily in wisdom and grace before God and men. In Matthew 6:28 Jesus tells us to look at the lilies of the fields, how they grow. In Ephesians4:14 we read: Let us then be children no longer, tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine that originates in human trickery and skill in proposing error. Rather, let us profess the truth in love, and grow to the full maturity of Christ the head, Though Him the whole body grows, and with the proper functioning of the members joined firmly together by each supporting ligament, builds itself up in love. These and other similar texts readily indicate that faith was not experienced by the early believers as a static thing, much the same, you might say, as a precious jewel, which you have or do not have, in its fullness, which you appreciate perhaps more or less from time to time but in itself remains the same. Rather faith was organic, living, capable of growth much the same as friendship, increasing or decreasing through the years, different in different stages, never to be the same ten years from now as it was ten years ago. The Apostles said to the Lord 'increase our faith'. May their request be our daily desire.

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