• Debbie Salter Goodwin

Growing Like Jesus


I stood in the group of fourth to sixth graders, awkward in my pre-adolescence. It was Wednesday night and I was a part of an organized scout-type, faith-based children’s program at my church. We learned Bible verses, life skills, and participated in community and church projects. We started every Wednesday night by repeating our key verse:

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature

and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:52

The emphasis was growing like Jesus. We could learn new things and gather new information; but to grow as Jesus grew, we had to turn it into wisdom. I’m not sure I really understood that. I just liked the activities and the friendships.

Today, I’ve returned to this verse so that it can lead me into a New Year. But today, I have different questions:

How do you grow wisdom?

What does stature mean and how do you increase it?

How do you grow in favor with God?

How do you grow in favor with other people?

I understand that wisdom is more than knowledge or collecting facts. Wisdom combines experience and knowledge to produce good judgment. Wisdom for the follower of God is not personal judgment or perspective because then it would be time-bound, momentary, or self-serving. No, this wisdom is a crafted judgment that allows God’s perspectives to inform our experience and make use of knowledge to grow a wisdom we cannot cultivate on our own.

Wisdom for the follower of God is not

personal judgment or perspective.

Stature isn’t just about your height or physical development. Stature is about your standing within your circle of influence. Stature is not a popularity ranking or even notoriety. We measure stature by who looks to you for counsel or instruction or who seeks your company and who wants your prayers. Growing stature isn’t as simple as adding friends to Facebook. Growing stature is what you do to nurture the relationships in your circle.

Growing stature isn't as simple

as adding friends to Facebook.

Favor with God involves growing towards what God favors. Favor with God is more than trying to keep God’s rules. Favor with God embraces the underpinnings that inform God’s standards. To grow in favor with God is less about what we reject and more about what we choose.

Favor with God is more than

trying to keep God's rules.

Favor with man comes next, not first. If we start with unity or love or any other good word placing our relationship with people first, it is easy to water down our favor with God. We bend it to fit favor with man. That’s backwards. When I grow in favor with God first, I find favor with man grows easier. It’s not about rejection or inclusion. It’s about favor with God that grows favor with man in all the right ways.

It is easy to water down our favor with God . . .

to fit favor with man.

But how do you set benchmarks for increasing wisdom, stature, and favor with God and man? We’ll look at that next week.

What about you? What is your key verse for growth and what questions does it ask of you?

Sharing the journey!

Debbie

#growth

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