Spiritual Growth

When we consider the purpose of the fruit we bear as believers, we better understand the scope of God’s greatness. It exists to nourish others and ultimately to lead them into a relationship with Jesus Christ.

by Shelton Brown

Our annual trips to my maternal grandmother’s hometown when I was a child meant someone noticed I had grown from year to year. When no one made the comment during my senior year, I was a little disappointed. I knew I had grown, but no one seemed to notice. How was it that not one of her siblings made mention of the growth I had experienced in the last year? When we returned, I asked my grandmother why no one noticed I had grown. “Now that you’re grown,” she said, “you continue to grow for you. Others may not see it.” I had looked forward to them commenting on my growth every year, and now, I was supposed to simply be content with growing and no one acknowledging it? 

Psalms 1 lends itself to this life lesson. We are first confronted with the reality that God has indeed endowed us with free will. The psalmist gives an illustration of the choices we make and the consequences of those choices. He reminds us that “birds of feather, flock together.” If our goal is growth, we should watch the company we keep. We should be wary of those who are bitter, judgmental, complacent and sinful. He suggests that when we do not watch our surroundings, we drift from growing and prospering to sitting and complaining. We will not realize we have stopped progressing because the people around us will have also stopped. 

“We grow in God through reading, learning and living His word.”

Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church Senior Pastor Shelton Brown

Pondering involves focused thinking on a particular subject. One of the words we use in its place: meditating. Paul reminded the Philippians to make sure their focus was on the things of God, not on the negative. There has always been and will always be enough negativity in the world to depress anyone. That depression could lead to a lack of progress and a state of perpetual complaining. If we want to avoid the pitfalls of regression, we have to meditate on the Word of God. We grow in God through reading, learning and living His word. 

Fruit is the product of our pondering. The psalmist is careful to remind us that, as individuals, our fruit is unique: “We will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that shall bring forth its fruit in its season.” Wow! How awesome is it to consider that we were created to produce fruit? When we consider the purpose of fruit, we better understand the scope of God’s greatness. Fruit does not benefit the tree on which it is grown. It is seen and consumed by others so that they can grow. As believers, our fruit will be used by God to draw people unto Him. What is your fruit? 

Finally, the psalmist gives us a confidence that surpasses human understanding. He says the Lord knows the way of the righteous. This is further confirmation that God is the author and finisher of our faith. Have you ever considered the fact that God knows where you are and where He is taking you? The psalmist clearly does, and He ends Psalms by reminding the believer of the contrast in the steps and path of the believer and the non-believer. We need not worry or fret because God knows where we are and where He will take us. “Oh my, look at how much you’ve grown.” That’s what I tell myself now. 

Shelton Brown is the senior pastor at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Covington. Visit MacedoniaCovington.org to learn more.

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