And Jesus increased in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:52
How do you grow wisdom or stature? How do you grow in favor with God and man?
I can't just put up a growth marker inside my closet and take monthly measurements to show increase in wisdom, influence. Inches won't mark the progress I make in deepening my relationship with God or man. How do I know it's happening?
Jesus didn’t grow in these ways because of his number on the Enneagram Personality Test or any other measuring standard. Each part of this simple summary identifies how Jesus processed the world he had been thrust into, how he responded to the same components of life we face: unpredictability, demands, beauty as well as ugliness. He used it all to increase wisdom, stature, and his favor with God and man.
I feel Job’s cry when he said, “If only [God] would tell [me] the secrets of wisdom!” (Job 11:6, NLT) But even as Job’s cries for wisdom he acknowledges that God is the source of all wisdom. So that's where I must start, too.
I must bring God’s wisdom into my daily tasks, my goal setting, my perceptions about everything and everyone. I fail miserably here because I usually lead with what I think.
Increasing stature is more difficult because we can’t script or manipulate the way others perceive us. I must let the Spirit of Truth and Wisdom guide my interactions and interior thinking. I can’t focus on what people think about me; I must focus on what God thinks. Right there is a battle I still fight. What people might be thinking will bring me down quicker than a black-cloud day.
Already I see that turning to God for wisdom and letting my interior conversation be less talking with myself and more talking with God will, by its very focus, allow my life to grow in favor with God. This isn’t about trying to please God more, even though it will. I take the try-harder out of the equation and open more to God’s wisdom, warnings, nudges, and affirmation. Then, my favor with man is a direct outgrowth of increasing my openness to all God wants to say and do in me and through me.
If you want easy, don’t ask God for any of your New Year growth goals. He targets the weak points we work hard to camouflage as well as refuses to let us downplay the strengths He sees. The more time we spend listening to His heart for us, the better we understand that love prompts every nudge. Love. Unfailing love. Nothing in us turns Him away. Nothing.
So what I’m learning for this New Year is not to make a list of do-better about this or that. I will keep a blank sheet of paper close by to remind me it’s God’s list I nee
How about you? How are you planning to grow in wisdom, influence, and in favor with God and man?
Maybe this prayer will help.