Six Steps to Personal Growth

by Ryan Rasberry on

Articles 5 min read
Luke 2:52

The incarnation can be a very challenging concept to wrap our human brains around, but there’s so much to gain in identifying with Jesus in our humanity. Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, the One who is the image of the invisible God… that same Jesus grew up. He had poopy diapers! Mary probably cried when He finally learned to say “immah” (mama). I’m sure He stumbled and fell many times before He took His first steps. It likely took a while for Him to pick up and hold His own spoon. His cousins may have helped Him learn to play outdoor games or how to skip a stone across the lake. Like any kid, He probably had a sudden growth spurt and frustrated his mom by needing a new tunic sooner than expected because he had outgrown the other one so quickly. If Joseph ever gave Jesus the “birds and the bees” talk, chances are good it was an awkward conversation. And Jesus may have learned the hard way how to drive a nail… with bruised and swollen fingers to remind Him of it. His face could have sometimes turned red, and girls may have giggled when His voice cracked.

Meanswhile, Jesus listened carefully as the Torah was read (Luke 2:46). He learned to take the truth of God’s Word and put it into practice as a young man. He doubtless memorized the Ten Commandments and applied each one to His daily life and practice. The neighbors must have seen young Jesus taking on more responsibility around the house or in the family business, and working with integrity. His reputation would have been well known, with people seeing that when Jesus said He would take care of things, He meant it. His relationship with Father God was strong, but also growing. He meditated on the Word and learned to discern the voice of His Father guiding and directing His every step. He learned to selflessly give away His life for the sake of His Father’s glory. He brought great pleasure to Abba Father.

Luke 2:52 says, “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”

The aches and pains that came with His growth were worth it. Jesus would regularly separate Himself from the demands of daily routines and expectations of others (Luke 5:16). He would do this to learn to be still and know His Father more deeply and more intimately. He set His eyes on His Father’s business and learned to prioritize His relationships for the sake of the kingdom of God. He learned to deny His natural cravings for supernatural satisfaction. Fasting was not easy for Him, but He learned to feed on the Word of God (Matthew 4:3-4; John 4:32). Ultimately, even when facing sorrow, loneliness, and the desire to avoid the cross, Jesus put His Father's will first (Matthew 26:36-42), having been trained in obedience: “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).

As Jesus grew in His life and practice, so are we also called to grow. Growth is the pattern of a follower of Jesus. While natural growth comes more… naturally… to us, supernatural growth is more cooperative, more purposeful and more intentional. God calls His children to study, to be still, to meditate, to follow, to surrender, to deny, to take up, to throw off, to train ourselves, etc. Growth pains will follow. Be assured that the Lord will give you everything you need for growth and life in Him.

Here are six simple suggestions as you cooperate with the Holy Spirit in your personal GROWTH:

  • Get up early and spend time with God. Whatever time you normally get up, get up an hour earlier and let your first moments of the day be in the Word and in prayer. (Mark 1:35)

  • Read about the growth of others. Nobody started out as a man or woman to be emulated. They had to learn from their mistakes and failures, and they had to get up after being knocked down. Discover how much alike you are to your “heroes” and learn from their growth lessons. (Proverbs 1:5; 1 Corinthians 13:11; Hebrews 12:1)

  • Open up about your need for growth. If you are willing to admit that you need to grow, then you will see how the Lord brings people across your path that can help you. But you have to be willing to show your flaws and face the fact that you have not arrived. And when you do, you’ll see more growth in your life. (Proverbs 15:22; Galatians 6:2)

  • Welcome feedback. Be teachable and ask those who know you best what areas of your life could stand some improvement. Resist the temptation to excuse or justify yourself. Simply say thank you and invite accountability as you pursue measurable steps for growth. (Proverbs 15:31-32; Proverbs 19:20)

  • Try something you’ve never tried before. We gravitate to the things we do well or have the most experience in. Step out of the familiar and try new things. Go to new places. Take on a task or project that will force you to work hard and challenge your perseverance. (Joshua 1:9; Philippians 3:13-14)

  • Have a positive outlook. Don’t measure success by the end result. Measure success by the commitment to grow and by the willingness to improve your life. Even if you don’t succeed, celebrate the growth and pay attention to the many lessons you learn along the way. (Proverbs 3:3-4; 1 Timothy 6:6)

About the Author

Ryan Rasberry (Th.M., Dallas Theological Seminary) is a Community Pastor and Director of Care Ministries at Central Bible Church.