Summary: Some of the myths about spiritual growth, some facts, and some tips.
How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator? Let me give you a short quiz to test your intelligence and reasoning ability.
Q. How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator?
A. Open the refrigerator, put the giraffe in and close the door. Simple. Don’t try to make things more complicated than they are.
Q. How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?
A. Open the door, take out the giraffe, put the elephant in and close the door. Remember, there are repercussions to your actions.
Q. The Lion King is hosting an animal conference. All the animals attend except one. What animal does not attend?
A. The elephant. He’s in the refrigerator. This tests your memory.
Okay, last question.
Q. There is a river you must cross. But it is inhabited by crocodiles. How do you manage it?
A. Just swim across. All the crocodiles are attending the Animal Meeting. This tests if you can learn and grow.
There are areas in which we all have grown. We all learn and improve and mature, at least to some extent. What are some things I’ve learned? I’ve learned:
Never lick a steak knife.
Never under any circumstances take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.
(These aren’t necessarily things I’ve learned from personal experience)
That tap-someone-on-the-shoulder-while-you-stand-on-the-opposite-side-and-they-turn-around-and-no-one’s-there thing is really annoying.
Avoid driving in downtown Charlottetown in the summer.
fatal error and illegal operation are not really fatal or illegal.
You can’t hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.
Wherever I go, the world’s worst drivers follow me.
Those are some of the things that I’ve learned. We all learn and grow. We have to if we’re going to survive. And this morning we’re going to talk about growing spiritually. Originally I had planned on beginning our “Disappointment with God” series today. We’re going to start that next week instead, but this week we’re going to talk about growing spiritually. Many of you have indicated to me that you have made spiritual decisions of one type or another over the past four or five weeks. You’ve begun a new relationship with Jesus, or you’ve expressed that you have a relationship with Jesus but it’s not all that it could and should be. So some of the things we talk about this morning should help you right where you’re at, and help you to grow as a Christian. In fact, I think you’ll find that much of what we talk about can help you grow spiritually, professionally, grow in your marriage, grow in your relationships, and grow as a person.
The passage we looked at earlier in the service talked about growing and maturing. Here’s part of what it said…
Hebrews 6:1 (NLT)
So let us stop going over the basics of Christianity again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start all over again with the importance of turning away from evil deeds and placing our faith in God.
It is God’s desire that we don’t remain infants in the faith. He wants us to grow, to learn, to improve, to mature.
So let’s start by talking about some of our false assumptions about what it takes to grow and mature as Christians, and then we’ll talk about some facts about growth and some practical applications.
Four False Assumptions About Growth:
a. Growth is automatic.
I loved to read Archie comics when I was growing up. I remember one page in particular out of a book I read years ago that showed Big Moose in Ms. Grundy’s classroom, taking a test, and he was sleeping on his desk. When Ms. Grundy noticed him, she woke him up and asked what he was doing. His response: “Well, you told me that if I had trouble on a question that I should sleep on it.” Wasn’t quite what she meant.
Growth does not happen automatically. You cannot sit back and wait and expect it to happen. It takes planning, commitment and work.
Every once in a while we focus on the state of amateur sports in Canada. Especially around the Olympics or other world championships, like the World Junior Hockey Championships that took place last week. And when we focus on amateur sports, a big part of what we discuss is the need for more funding. Why it that important? Well, with a lack of funding it means that our amateur athletes have to find jobs, and can only train on the side. With funding, they claim they’d be able to devote more time to training and improving. They need to be able to put the time and energy into it that it takes. This doesn’t happen automatically. And you don’t grow as a Christian automatically.