– Henry Ward Beecher
No Growth is Deadly
I’m not the greatest gardener in the world; in fact, I’ve been known to kill plastic plants, but I do know that whenever a plant stops growing, is going to dying unless I can stimulate its growth. That’s the same for spiritual growth. We’re command to grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord (2nd Pet 3:18), and we can only grow if we abide in Jesus Christ, the True Vine (John 15:1). He says “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5), but “If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burn” (John 15:6). This is why Jesus said we must abide in Him (John 15:7), and abiding in Christ is abiding in His Word, the Bible. The Word of God allows us to keep on growing.
Most Christians can identify with trout. They swim upstream in order to reproduce. In our case, we are trying to bring others into the kingdom but we’re swimming upstream against the culture and we can find it hard to swim against the current, especially when that current is strong. Think of it this way; any old dead fish can float downstream (Eph 2:1-2), but it takes a quickening by God’s Sprit for us to turn around (repent) and go the other way, upstream, so that we can live…and bring others with us as God uses us as a means to save some.
The Two Paths
Jesus described only to paths we can take. Most of the world believes that there are many paths to God but that is contrary to biblical doctrine that says Jesus is the One and only way to eternal life (Acts 4:12). It certainly appears that not many will be saved (Luke 13:22-27; Matt 7:13-23) so we must hear what Jesus says; “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matt 7:13-14). Many will come to Jesus and think they were serving God (Matt 7:21-23) so make certain of your path. If it’s where everyone seems to be going, then it must not be the right way because the gate to eternal life is narrow and it’s hard, and not many are going there.
Just like swimming downstream is easier than swimming upstream, so is climbing a hill harder than going down one and even a rock can go down the hill faster than we can, but what rock can go up the hill to see the mountain top? We who stand on the Rock, and that Rock is Christ, will reach the kingdom someday, and when we see His glory, it will all have been worth it…and then some (Rom 8:18).