Summary: Christians must regularly evaluate his growth.
EVALUATING OUR GROWTH
The end of the year for some reasons is an interesting event in our lives. It creates a mixed feeling of excitement or loneliness for the future. It is exciting because we have another opportunity to start our lives and hopefully avoid the mistakes of the past year. Or it is depressing because the pain and troubles of the past year would be prolonged.
But there is another way of celebrating the end of the year and ushering the New Year: make it a time of personal balance evaluation. Evaluation is done not to discourage us from living but to help us see what aspect of life we have achieved and what aspect of life we have needs for improvement. Either way evaluation is beneficial to us.
How do we do that? What should be considered in our evaluation? Please open your bibles to Luke 2:39-52.
Summary of Luke 2:39-52
Afterwards Jesus grew up in Nazareth of Galilee. (v. 39) He became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him. (v. 40) His parents were observant of the Jewish Feasts. (vv. 39, 41)
When Jesus was 12 years old, he stayed behind in Jerusalem without the knowledge of his parents. When they found him in the temple and was reprimanded, he explained that he must be in his Father’s house.
Joseph and Mary did not understand what he was saying then and simply went back to Nazareth. (vv. 42-51) Once again, Luke described Jesus growing in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men. (v. 52)
This passage says that Jesus became aware of his relationship with God at the age of twelve but he never stops growing in every aspect of his life.
Jesus demonstrated the virtue of growing. The phrase to grow means to go forward, to advance, and to make progress. He made progress in his personal and relational life. Personally, He grew in wisdom and stature; relationally, He grew in His relationship with God and men.
In like manner, you and I should continue to grow – to go forward, to advance, and to make progress in terms of our personal well-being and relationship with God and man. It is interesting that the bible did not emphasize the growth of a person in terms of wealth, education, and professional achievements although these are important.
Why? Because it is possible that we have made progress in these areas but failed to advance in terms of our well being and relationship with God and man. As a result, there are individuals who highly educated, professionally successful, and wealthy and yet got a grade of D or F in terms of character, integrity, morality, and spirituality.
For God what is important is our personal well-being and meaningful relationship with Him and with other people. (See Philippians 3:7-9) Paul considered is unprofitable to all his religious achievements because it made him a persecutor of the church and an enemy of the cross. Mark 8:36 says, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”
Note as well that Luke evaluated the growth of Jesus Christ before and after he turned 12 years old. (See vv. 40, 52) When you measure your growth, measure it in relation to your life before and after you have made your decision to grow. (See Galatians 6:4)
So when you evaluate your growth, do it personally. Compare yourself today from last year and see if there is any progress. We cannot compare ourselves from others because we live in different context and opportunities in life.
Luke 12:48 “…From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” The expectation of progress or growth is dependent on the opportunities God gave us.
Have you made progress in your personal, spiritual well-being and relationship with God and man? What aspects of your life have you grown 2006? If you have experience growth, praise God. If not, then resolve to grow like Jesus our Savior did according to the grace that God has given us.
1. He grew in wisdom. (vv. 40, 52)
Wisdom is the ability to use knowledge for correct behavior. A person is wise if he is able to use knowledge for correct behavior. There are people who are knowledgeable in a lot of subjects or issues but if he fails to apply them appropriately to produce correct behavior, it is useless.
When we say we must grow in wisdom, it means that we are committed to applying or using the knowledge of the truth that God revealed to us. The more we apply or use what we know that more we become wise. Proverbs 2:6 For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.