For he [Jesus Christ] shall grow up before him [God] as a tender plant….
The Word likens the growth of a man, Jesus Christ, with the growth of a plant. A plant basically starts with a seed. The vitality, or life, of the seed provides the growth from within so that it grows gently, gradually, and consistently.
In a garden, a seed must be planted at the proper depth in the right kind of soil with the necessary nutrients. Then in time with the right amount of moisture, air, and light, the plant grows freely.
Like plant growth, spiritual growth has a timing to it; it takes place progressively from one stage to the next. Our continued desire for the pureness of the Word of God rightly divided and accurately taught is what helps us grow spiritually.
I Peter 2:2:
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.
Just like the plant needs certain elements to grow and the baby needs nourishment, we faithfully put on God’s Word in our minds and hearts, and then we grow gently, gradually, and consistently. As we grow in our understanding and believing of the Word, fruit is produced.
In John 15, Jesus taught his disciples how their lives would grow and bear fruit as they remained faithful.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
In these verses, the Greek word for “abide” and “abideth” means to dwell, stay, continue, remain. Today Jesus Christ is no longer physically present on the earth for his followers to continue with. However, the Word of God living in the hearts of born-again believers today takes the place of the absent Christ. We can abide in our Lord Jesus Christ by continuing in God’s Word and increasing in the understanding and believing of it.
That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing [growing] in the knowledge of God.
In the physical category, the fruitfulness of plants in a garden depends on the careful attention given to them by watering and weeding. In the spiritual category, “being fruitful” as believers depends on the careful cultivation of God’s Word in our lives. How do we do that?
- By our personal study of the Scriptures. When we faithfully study the Word, it’s like we are watering our garden of personal growth, enabling our lives to blossom.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
- By availing ourselves of the Word available in The Way International’s classes, books, teachings, and fellowships. We can endeavor to keep the “weeds” of the world out of our lives, allowing us to grow even more consistently.
II Corinthians 1:24:
Not for that we have dominion over your faith [believing], but are helpers of your joy: for by faith [believing] ye stand.
- By speaking God’s Word. When we speak the Word we have studied and been taught, we grow even more.
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.
As believers, we labor to cultivate our spiritual growth by studying, fellowshipping around God’s Word, and speaking His Word. And it is God Who ultimately gives the increase—that spiritual growth that develops stage by stage, gently, gradually, and consistently.
I Corinthians 3:6,7:
I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase [causes the growth].
So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
As we grow spiritually, fruit will abound in our lives. This fruit that will abound is the abundance and prosperity reflected throughout our life. This fruit is reflected in the quality of our life.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Let’s grow and bring forth much fruit by the careful cultivation of God’s Word in our lives, letting the quality of our lives show others the goodness of God.