Friday, 15 January 2016

Time to grow

Time to grow up

It's time to grow up!
Happy New Year! I'm excited about 2016 and I'm sure you are too. The theme for 2016 as declared by the Holy Spirit through our CGMI Archbishop is "Empowered to Occupy till He comes"
As Christians, we are Ambassadors advancing the kingdom of God on Earth and it is very important that our actions reflect Christ on Earth.
It’s a New Year, and undoubtedly we all have one resolution or the other we would like to realize in 2016. Resolutions are great but ask yourself, how many of the resolutions you made in 2015 followed you through the year? If you were able to keep them all, glory to God but if you were not, don’t despair. I’d like to help you through the process of making and keeping resolutions in 2016.
I believe that the key to achieving our goals this year is found in 
I Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways”  
Paul’s message in this Scripture is very straightforward; we need to grow up!
The same way growth and development is helpful in assessing the physical health and nutrition of a child, it is also necessary in assessing Spiritual growth. Abnormal growth or development usually signifies a disease or abnormality, we don't have that benefit with personal growth. People can appear grown on the outside, but be infantile on the inside. Growing spiritually is a personal thing and requires intentional effort.
How do you measure personal growth? Here are a few questions you might want to ask yourself....
1.     How stable am I?

Stability is a good way to measure growth because it tells you exactly how disciplined you are. If you cannot follow a course of action over a period of time, you need to check yourself.
Eph. 4:13-15
13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves[a], and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
2.      How much can I be trusted with?
Trust is another indication of growth. If you keep getting additional responsibilities, it is a sign of growth.  The saying “to whom much is given, much is expected” is often times attributed to Western culture and is paraphrased in the Spiderman franchise as “with great power comes great responsibility”  However Scripture puts it succinctly in Luke 12:48:.
From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked”
3.      What are 'kids' doing that I can't tolerate anymore?
As we grow older we also get to a point where certain habits we take for granted become uncomfortable. We need to examine our habits and carefully weed out the childish tendencies in our Christian life. Constantly falling into old habits of sin is one thing that you should work at overcoming this year.
I Cor 14:20 
Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults”.
Now that you have asked the tough questions, I’d like to give you some tips on how you can begin or continue the process of growth.
1.     You must be intentional about growth.
Natural human body growth happens without effort, but personal growth isn't the same. You don't grow personally without a plan.
Psalms 65:9
You visit the earth and cause it to overflow; You greatly enrich it; The stream of God is full of water; You prepare their grain, for thus You prepare the earth.
This Scripture tells us that even God who created all things followed a plan to make things happen. Creation itself is ordered according to a plan. The tree that shades you today started as a seed, grew into a plant and then became a large tree.
2.     You must invest in the right things.
Investment is another intentional action towards growth.
In the world today, investment as a word makes a lot of people uncomfortable as it is possible to invest in unstable ventures and lose all your progress. (eg. finance, stock market)but as a Christian you must invest your time and effort in personal Spiritual growth.
It is possible to desire growth, but this desire must be backed by actions that move you towards your goal. What do you read? What do you listen to?
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24 NIV)
3.  You must find your accountability team and develop strategy and goals
John Maxwell, "It's hard to improve when you have no one but yourself to follow."
Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)
17 As iron sharpens iron,
    so one person sharpens another.
Your sphere of friends matters when it comes to growth. If you are with people who are constantly retrogressive in their thought pattern and the way they live, you will not improve beyond the level you currently find yourself in. If there are areas of your life (financial, spiritual, emotional)you seek improvement in you should constantly associate with people who have attained a level of excellence in this area.  Show me your friends and I will show you your future.
Your friends and associates must be people who are driven towards achieving goals, this way you can spur each other on to greater heights of growth.
If you associate with people who aren't functioning, you will eventually lose your muscle tone and blood supply.... Atrophy
4.  You must be teachable

Babies are born with the ability to speak but they must first learn what the language sounds like. As a person conscious of growth you must make yourself available to be taught. In Church Unusual we have a lot of avenues for learning; from our midweek Rhema 360 meetings to the school of ministry. (Unusual Academy, Ministers in Training and Leaders in Training). In these meetings you will have ample opportunity to learn what steps you should take to have appreciable growth in 2016.  
Proverbs 1:5 says:
A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.
The growth we need in 2016 is personal, so let us make intentional decisions that will help us grow throughout the year.

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