Growth is the name of the processes that are at work in a living thing that sustains it’s life. Many of those processes are out of sight like the act of producing chlorophyl that a plant does. Or the movement of oxygen in blood to the far reaches of a body.

Still, those invisible processes result in body warmth, growth of hair, vitality of one sort or another resulting in motion or sound or creative work. A botanist can tell with a glance when a plant is healthy or sick by the color of its leaves or whether it has new growth.

In the spiritual world there is also evidence of growth that can be measured in more developmental sorts of ways. The best example is in watching a young child pull up, gain balance, and walk. Or when “ma ma ma” becomes Mom.

Some kinds of “growth” are to be feared. Like a cancer cell that rapidly grows and takes the life of its host. Or when progeria, the rapid aging disease, turns a little child into an old person in appearance.

The gospel writer, Luke, commented in Luke 2:52 that the child Jesus “increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor,” as a way to mark his growth from infancy. The writer of Hebrews said that Jesus “learned obedience.” Again, a marker of growth.

Paul, writing to the Ephesian church, uses different words to refer to growth. “Christ gave gifts to the church so that it would be equipped, and her members would come to unity, faith, knowledge, and the stature of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13.

Paul warned Timothy of people who “will not make progress because of their folly…. but bad people will go from bad to worse.” 2 Timothy 3:9-13. This is reverse growth.

What the Bible describes and encourages is intentional, focused growth in wisdom and understanding. This cannot be achieved by laziness or indifference.

How are you growing?