My parents-in-law have a backyard pool. On Monday, I taught Judah how to dive down and pick up rocks from the floor of the three-foot shallow end. On Tuesday, we moved to the four-foot middle section to grab the same smooth red rocks. On Wednesday, he gave it a go in the five-foot end, a deep blue sea to a four-year-old.
Monday it took some pep talks, repeated explanations, and practical training. Tuesday was smoother but some lessons had to be repeated. Wednesday, first try, he just dipped his goggled eyes into the water to get a bead on the rock, gathered in a big breath of air, and launched himself into the deepest part of the pool, determinedly pointing his head straight down like we’d worked on, flailing his little arms and pumping his little legs all the way to the bottom where he grabbed the rock in one scoop and twisted his body back around to kick for the surface. He bobbed up for air and turned to swim for the nearest pool wall, grabbing the concrete ledge and placing the rock poolside as Dad celebrated.
Growth is possible.
It’s amazing to watch this little guy grow up before my eyes. A week ago he wouldn’t enter the water without a vest. Three days ago he swam bare-chested but couldn’t fathom the idea of diving head-down to grab a rock from a pool floor he was tall enough to stand on. Then yesterday he’s launching all of his forty-three pounds into the deep end from the ledge of the raised hot tub, only to instantly roll over while still submerged and swim straight down to grab rocks from the deepest part of the pool.
You might think that this is some sort of extended bumper sticker about my son. It’s not, even though I’m very proud of him. Rather, it’s about growth — how it’s possible, and probable, and even inevitable.
You see, my son belongs to the human race, and humans, all things being equal, grow. This is how the Great Designer has made us. It’s an awesome thing, really, when you think about it. We could just stay the same, with a static blandness that would be utterly normal if it’s all we knew. But we’re made to grow, to blossom, to be transformed and to bloom. It’s in our nature.
Yet the glorious thing is that it’s also in the believer’s new nature. The New Testament is replete with the theme of growth. The seed sown in good soil grows (Mark 4:8, 20). God grows His people (1 Corinthians 3:6-7). The temple of God, the church, grows (Ephesians 2:21-22). The church body grows (Ephesians 4:15-16; Colossians 2:19). The gospel grows, throughout the world, among all whom it transforms (Colossians 1:6). The faith and love of the saints grow, and they grow “abundantly” (2 Thessalonians 1:3). The milk of the Word makes the Christian grow (1 Peter 2:2).
The kind of natural growth that I’ve seen blossoming in my son for the past three days is no evidence of a child prodigy. He’s human. He grows.
In the same way, the kind of supernatural growth that we see described all throughout the New Testament is no evidence that the ancients were spiritual giants or that God must’ve only done wonderful things in the lives of His people in days gone by. To Jesus and the apostles it was simple: You’re Christians. You grow.
This is because the new nature not only makes growth possible or probable, but inevitable.
Isn’t it sad, and quite discouraging, when we forget this?
So if you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and have had your sins washed in His blood, and if you have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit of the living God, I exhort you by the sacred Scriptures to believe once again that growth is not only possible but probable, not only probable but promised. You aren’t stuck, so you shouldn’t be sad, and you’re not static, so you shouldn’t be satisfied. By the resurrection power of Jesus Christ who lives within you, growth is guaranteed.
So don’t give up at four years old and three feet of water. Don’t wilt when the sun of circumstances hits midday. Don’t be intimidated by old habits and demonic doubts. Those habits aren’t invincible, and those doubts aren’t spiritual. Dive back in, stand back up, gaze once again at the founder and perfecter of your faith… and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).