Drive Forward in God
49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”[f] 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
What a humbling, encouraging, and fascinating passage of Scripture. Jesus, as a child, gives his parents a near heart attack for staying behind in the temple to listen to the teaching. Immediately following this, He goes back home, with His parents, to Nazareth. At which point the Word says, His main priority was to continue to grow in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and man. Jesus, Emmanuel, the Divine in human flesh had a season of growth and maturity He processed through. This season of growth prepared Him to walk in the ministry he was supposed to walk in. WOW! Lord, help us to embrace whatever you want to develop in us, before we fully walk into what you've called us. For me personally, this is a great reminder. It's ok if I have not fully arrived spiritually. The reality is, we are all continually maturing in our faith. God is building something precious right now in each of us that He plans to use in the next season of our lives and ministry to Him.
The Lord's desire is to grow each of us in maturity before Him and the people He has called us to, so we can eventually lead and minister in the way He has designed us to. I can testify that this is a real and important process. If you have been a part of this ministry over the last nine years, you would agree. There is a tangible grace God puts on your life to grow in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and man. God will often use other people to confirm what He is doing in you when you give him an unwavering YES, and commit to serve the people He has called you to.
In the Greek, the word “grew” (referring to Jesus in verse 52) obviously means to grow, but also means to drive forward and advance. I believe this is a more accurate way to explain spiritual growth in God before man. For the most part, you can't control how your body physically grows. Your height, skin complexion, and your shoe size all grow and change naturally without your permission. You may also not get to decide what you're called to. Although you yourself can determine how far you go and grow in your call before God; furthermore, you can most certainly decide how far you will grow personally and spiritually. You get to decide when you start and stop advancing into or driving forward in Him. May I suggest the most important thing you can do in your faith walk after giving your life to Jesus, is to continually say YES to Him and grow in Him. We need constant reminding that salvation is eternally important, but also it is only the beginning of the epic saga Jesus has called us into. Another reminder is that we don’t always need to understand, feel good about, or be in control of what Jesus is doing in our lives. We simply need to continually and passionately gaze upon Him as we advance into or drive forward where He has called us. Jesus certainly did not need this process as He is eternally perfect. I do believe He modeled this process in His own human life because it’s something we desperately need to embrace. You are called to greatness whether you like it or not. As a believer, your life is intended to glorify God according to the call He has bestowed upon you. We must choose to advance in obedience to His call. We must drive ourselves forward, even in times of not understanding or not liking what Jesus is advancing us into. His will for our lives is always perfect. An enduring YES to follow him elevates our spirit before God while simultaneously crucifying our flesh. Will we stumble? Yes. Will we feel like quitting? Yes. Will we always understand or like what we are doing? No. At times there are many uncertainties that come with following Jesus. As you commit your yes to him and faithfully mature and grow spiritually in this way, you will be able to look back and give thanks to Him. You become more concerned with His glory and less concerned with yourself. You are able to love the people He has called you to; more intentionally and authentically. Again, this has been the case in my own life. It’s amazing how He can use our simple YES to create and grow in us something we never could on our own. As for myself; I am looking forward to many more years of growth and glory before He finally calls us home, and I also look forward to watching Him overcome in each of our lives. He is perfectly growing each of us into a more perfect reflection of His bride as we continue to faithfully give Him our simple YES.