The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.” (Luke 2:40, NASB95)

The Child continued to grow and become strong. Where faith lives, growth happens! The opposite is also true. In fact, we can diagnose our own spiritual health as a disciple of Jesus by this simple measurement: “Am I growing? How have I grown in the last month?”  Questions like these stir the soul to self-evaluate and determine our faith-health. Without growth, we shrink back and die spiritually.

Now, before we move on, be careful of the alternative, which is criticizing others. Satan loves to cause us to think we are spiritual when we look into another person’s life and find fault with them. That isn’t spiritual health. That is pride. And we, as disciples of King Jesus, are to be marked by our humility. Our own constant self-examination is evidence of that meekness.

All living things grow. All dying things die. It is THAT simple for a diagnostic. Think of the plants around your home. Life is green. Death is brown. When we go to the grocery store we can tell the condition of the fruit by their appearance. Mold, bruises, shriveling, and softness all are evidence of death.

For the true follower of Jesus, spiritual health sees us growing stronger each week, each month. We are no longer what we were but we are not yet what we will be. God intended for us to be vibrant spiritually. In fact, as we grow into our later years of life on this planet we should be able to confidently say, “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16, NASB95)

With each month our ability to make wise choices should increase. In the words of God each day we discover the examples of the Old Testament people. There we discover fools and the faith-filled. Listening, aligning, and applying are the traits of a wise disciple.

God’s grace flows on those who grow! That grace is constantly “instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,” (Titus 2:12, NASB95) Each day and in every way, God meets us when we draw near to Him and His grace-filled growth is evident to those we meet.

Train Them Thursdays seeks to wed the Great Commission directive of Jesus with the practice He employed while on Earth. Each nugget is meant to encourage the reader with a “can-do” spirit to realize that discipleship is something each person is both capable of and empowered to accomplish. Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Executive Director of Eagles In Leadership, writes each thought and they flow out of decades of his tried and true field-testing in multiple settings from rural to inner city. He welcomes your comments below.