Grow or Die
Gary D. Erickson
Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen (II Peter 3:18).
All forms of plant life are continually growing. Some plants grow very slowly, but if they are alive they are growing. The mushroom springs up overnight, but the oak tree takes years to grow into adulthood. Growth is a vital sign of life. When a plant is cut off from water and nutrients in the soil it will die. So will teachers die spiritually if they are not perpetually rooted in the Word, watered by the Holy Spirit, and energized by the sunlight of God’s care. This is our life in the Spirit!
The soil is like the Word. It is stable, full of nutrients, and provides a fertile environment for the growing plant. Water and sunlight are like the Holy Spirit. Just as the water dissolves minerals in the soil so the plant’s roots can absorb them, the Holy Spirit anoints the Word and transforms it into spiritual food. Just as sunlight activates photosynthesis in the leaves, which in turn nourishes the plant, so the Holy Spirit energizes new believers and empowers them to be overcomers.
The Greek verb translated “grow” in the verse above is a present imperative, which could be rendered “be continually growing.” Our spiritual life should be one of continual growth and progress. There is no such thing as a static Christian. We cannot reach a level of spiritual growth and plateau. The teacher should be constantly seeking ways to increase in knowledge and in relationship with God. “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (I Peter 2:1-2).
The psalmist describes the faithful believer with these words: “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Psalm 1:3). As we grow we produce fruit, providing our Caregiver a return for His labor: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22).
Without constant nurturing by the Holy Spirit and the Word, we will wilt under the heat of worldliness. The pressures of life will take their toll on our spiritual well-being and render us lifeless. Teachers must keep their spiritual roots deeply embedded in the rich soil of God’s Word. They must position themselves to be showered frequently by Holy Spirit rains. The teacher must stay in the radiant sunlight of God’s scrutiny and supervision.
When believers reflect upon their past, they should see growth. When a giant tree is cut down, growth rings in the trunk will tell the story of the tree’s development through the years. The growth patterns of our lives will reveal seasons of dormancy and seasons of accelerated growth. The important thing is to keep growing, otherwise we die. To insure growth we should consider maintaining the following disciplines:
Daily Bible reading and study
Daily prayer and worship
Daily spiritual self-examination (repentance and commitment)
Daily investment in self-improvement
Daily investment in the success of others
These are disciplines that should be instilled into each and every new believer.
The above article, “Grow or Die” was written by Rev. Gary D. Erickson, a minister with the UPCI.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.