Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers, 3 John 1:2
Why is it important that we grow up and grow into the likeness of Christ? Because all of creation is groaning for the children of God to be who God created us to be. “Evil persists when good men and women do nothing.” As we become more intimate with Him, He restores order in us so that we become who we really are. There is no true identity apart from God. We are orphans without Him, without a clue and without a hope. It’s important that we become who we really are so the world can encounter Him. It’s not about us; it’s about bringing and establishing His Kingdom on the earth.
It’s easy in America to be a consumer. We go to church to be fed. We enter into relationships that make us feel good and give us something to do. We engage with God and sometimes others when we need or want something, for our culture celebrates selfishness. The goal of the enemy is to make us self-focused instead of God focused. There will be seasons where we need to retreat with God to be made whole and healed (ministered to), but He never intends for us to be selfish, or stay broken. He longs to heal us, restore us, and grow us into His likeness.
The world needs us to be the hands, feet, and mouth of Jesus. You and I may never enter into full-time ministry at a church, but we are full-time ambassadors for God. We bear His name. We are His workmanship. We were created for His glory. We are the salt and light. We can’t afford to not become who He created us to be. The world needs us to grow up.
The goal is growth (not perfection) and the goal is to prosper (flourish). God loves us whether we grow or not-His love is unconditional. However, no parent delights in changing a 40 year old’s diaper…you want your child to grow up and be the best they can be-for their sake. We suffer when we buck the correction, leading, and guidance of the Holy Spirit. And the people around us suffer. Our sin doesn’t just hurt us, it hurts others. When we are selfish we aren’t serving, helping, loving, or blessing anyone else. The entire Body of Christ was intended to love with the sacrificial love of Jesus; to love one another, to help each other, to serve one another, encourage each other, and to work together to represent Him. It wasn’t something only called out for certain people-it’s a call for every disciple of Jesus. We are all called to lay down our lives for one another; to love even our enemy which requires the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
How we get there?
The amazing part about growing up with God is that He does most of the hard work. Our role is to invest in relationship with Him, submit to Him, obey Him, and follow Him. We invite Him in to weed the garden of our souls. We listen. He leads, we follow. He is the source of growth and it doesn’t come from striving, it comes from abiding. We become like what we worship and as humans we are always worshipping something or someone. He calls us to worship Him, to put Him first in all things. He’s not screaming, “Get it together already!” He is perfect in patience. He’s cheering, “I want the world to see the beauty I placed in you! You were born to shine bright! You can do all things through Me. I am Your strength!” He’s encouraging us to come to Him, to go deeper, so we can be who we were created to be- a tremendous blessing to the world.
Papa I ask that we would invite You into the garden of our souls to pull up everything that will not produce good fruit. May we submit to Your correction and direction. May we forgive, for bitterness destroys our souls and damages our relationship with You. May we surrender lies we believe that prevent us from fulfilling our divine destiny. May we cast any and all idols at your feet (things we worship and want more than You). Reveal Your truth about the condition of our hearts and souls. May we come boldly to You; to know You, to love You, to be taught by You, and most importantly to be loved by You. Use us to change the world. The world needs Jesus; may we daily find ways to bring light into the darkness! We love and thank You. In Jesus name, Amen.
If we prosper, everyone around us can prosper too! It’s about allowing the world to see how GREAT is our God! Have a blessed and wonderful day.