And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. Lk. 2:40
That’s talking about our Lord Jesus Christ. Notice the Bible tells us that Jesus grew. Elsewhere, the Apostle Peter tells us:
“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” (2 Pet. 3:18)
I have an interesting illustration to go with this scripture. It is a true story. And, as always, it involves me, God bless my poor soul!
Many years ago, I was invited to attend a 5-day religious conference and, when I arrived at the venue, I was led straight to my sleeping quarters. When I saw the spot where I was to sleep, I was less than impressed. In fact, I remember, I was livid. It was not the best living quarters that anyone could desire, least of all me! Apparently, it was the best they could do for me; but even such a thought would not appease me.
A short while later I was invited to the same conference. When I received the invitation (sent via text message), I immediately called the sender, who happened to be the secretary of the conference. I was smarting from the last “putting down” they had given me. Without mincing words, I gave the man specific instructions about where I wanted them to put me up, including the distance the residence had to be from the conference hall. The secretary faltered for a minute, then he finally gave in and said okay.
Years passed and then, one day, I received the very same invitation. But something had been going on in my heart…
I boarded the bus and headed for the conference venue, a 6-hour journey. As the bus sped across the countryside, somewhere along the way the thought popped up in my head, “What about the sleeping quarters?”
It was at this moment that I knew for sure that a change had taken place in my heart. The answer came automatically: I would gladly sleep anywhere they put me.
The questioner persisted, “What if they put you up in a far-off place where you might need to walk for half an hour to reach the conference venue?”
Again the answer came smoothly: “So much the better. In fact, I would want them to put me up in exactly such a location.” I felt so free! And I rejoiced greatly that I would be willing to suffer rather than be a burden to my brethren.
It was then that I recalled clearly my attitude the last time I had attended this conference. As I looked at how my heart had been then, I was appalled – appalled at my selfishness. In fact, I felt so embarrassed I wondered how I could ever face my hosts again. Unable to do anything else, right there in the bus I closed my eyes, bowed my head and said quietly, “Lord, forgive me.”
The burden of guilt lifted off me. It was like the Lord said, “You are forgiven.”
When I arrived at the conference venue, I found that a brother from a foreign country had also attended the conference. The hosts told me, “Brother Mwita, you are the man best suited to give our foreign visitor company, so, please, you will be staying with him.”
Without so much as a shot fired, I found myself staying at a more comfortable residence than all those I had fought for before. But then, it really did not matter. I was ready for anything.
In this account, I feel that there is nothing for me to be ashamed of. The Bible says that Jesus grew. And the Apostle Peter exhorts us to grow. There is nothing wrong if we are growing, no matter how afield our growth might appear. It becomes a problem with God, however, when the years pass and we are not growing, not changing through dying to our selves.
Paul exhorts us in Romans 12:1-2
“1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
And in verse 3 he goes on to remind us:
“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (v.3)
That is growing in grace.
[To grow in grace… is to not think of yourself more highly than others]