Links Daily Devotional

The Growing We Do

Jesus said, “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” (Matthew 5:48, MSG)

It’s easy to love U.S. Open season. From mid-June to mid-July, the USGA stages the men’s, women’s, and senior Opens—the most demanding and challenging tests in golf on American soil.

The courses selected to host these events go through many changes in order to meet USGA standards, and ultimately it makes the courses better for the members in the future. Whether you’re a professional or amateur, you’d better be ready to endure, be patient, and show up with a mature golf game.

Recently, I have been reading Eugene Peterson’s, Leap Over a Wall. The book is about the life of King David and how his story provides us with an understanding of how our own lives are constantly being shaped by God. Although David made many mistakes and poor choices, his story is still a story of growth and maturity. David was a man after God’s own heart because he continually turned back to God with a repentant heart and he desired more than just change. He wanted to continue to grow into the man God created him to be.

Our culture is filled with constant change, yet it’s poor in growth. We constantly have new gadgets, new developments, and new opportunities presented to us. Unfortunately, we often believe that by replacing the old with something new, we will experience more fulfillment in life. God’s way is not about change, it’s about growth. God doesn’t throw out the old (past); he assimilates it into a growing and maturing life as we make ourselves open and available to him.

The Christian life develops organically. In other words, it takes time to grow and mature and it begins from within. Peterson shares, “It grows from a seed that’s planted in the actual soil of our muscles and brain cells, our emotions and moods, our genetic code and work schedule. Religious bureaucracy isn’t the answer. And the Gospel isn’t a consulting firm we hire to give us advice on how to live. The Gospel is the foundation on which God, through his Holy Spirit, does his work in us as we mature in “a life of belief and obedience and prayer.” We need to be an active participant with God.

The degree to which we believe our story is important comes in direct proportion to our understanding of how intricately it is God-shaped, God-influenced, and God-graced. Even though we may make mistakes and poor choices, God will use all of our experiences to shape us. Change doesn’t have to diminish us; it can lead to developing, deepening, and enlarging who we are and the role we play in God’s kingdom.

Peterson’s paraphrase of Matthew 5:48 is provocative. Grow up. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously. Live graciously. We will consistently be impacted by change, so lean into it with endurance and patience in order to move toward growth and maturity in the Lord.

Tracy Hanson

July 2, 2013

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