But grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity, Amen.

2 Peter 3: 18

 

We all know that plants and animals grow. They each start out as something that is a young, underdeveloped version of what they will be when full maturity is reached. The process of getting to that fullest expression of the genetic potential that was given to the organism by its Creator is something that we call development, maturation, and growth. We study plants and animals in order to discover and determine how to best care for them, feed them, and what environment suits them best so that the final result will be greater yields, more usable weight at slaughter, or a sort of perfected beauty for our eyes to enjoy. People also grow, and most parents take great and loving care of their children so that they too mature into the best and the fullest expressions of the person that God intends them to be.

 

Although there are many similarities in the growth processes for plants and other animals with those that people undergo, there are also some very important differences. People develop and grow in intellectual, emotional, and spiritual ways that far exceed even the most capable of other animals, and despite the conversations that you may be having with your favorite house plants, this same idea is even more applicable to them. Another interesting aspect of the way that God designed humans is that we never stop growing in the depth of our being until the end of most of our lives. One of the most significant differences between us and plants and the rest of the animals is found in our ability to choose to grow and in our capacity to determine the nature and the quantity of the nutrients that we take in.

 

God provides us with a rich environment in which we can engage with this growth process. He also grants to us the gift of His own presence and the availability of wisdom and understanding that come from the foundation of all that is true and real. In turn, we are invited to come to the Lord’s ongoing banquet of life and to feast on Him so that our minds, hearts, and spirits are being continually nourished by the best of all possible input. When we choose to take in knowledge and understanding of God and of His character and will through regular reading of His Word, discussion of its meaning and His intent, prayerful engagement with all aspects of life, and active involvement in His body, the church, we grow. I know that my life has been littered with missteps and with times of deliberate disobedience; yet, as I travel through these hard roads with Christ, His grace flows over me and my understanding of it and ability to apply it to others does grow so that my knowledge of the wonder, the might, and the righteous glory of God is also developed and expanded within me. I pray that this growth process will never cease until I meet Christ in Heaven.