2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever! Amen.
In reading this just now I noticed something I’m not sure has registered before. The phrase, “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ,” has become pretty standard, but it has two sides to it, and that’s what just clicked. I have tended to think of it in terms of, get more grace and more knowledge. We indeed need to appropriate more of His grace and learn more about Him. However, the other side of it is that it is His grace and the knowledge of Him that enable us to grow. Without His grace, without knowing Him, we can’t grow spiritually, and we must never forget that. Growth can be healthy or it can be pathological. Pathological growth can include such forms of gigantism as Marfan Syndrome, but a more common illustration is cancer. Trying to grow spiritually apart from Christ produces distortion at best, and is usually malignant. Every human being should desire to grow, and keep growing. There are natural limits to physical growth, but essentially no limits to mental and spiritual growth. It has been rightly said that when we stop growing we start dying. That is all the more reason to focus in on the Lord Jesus Christ, learning more of Him by His grace, just as Paul did. (Philippians 3:9-11) This is the common experience of all the saints throughout the ages, and we do well to make that the focus and commitment of our lives.
This gets really personal for me. Thankfully I have had some marvelous examples of people close to me who never stopped growing. My uncle, Dr. C. T. Bahner, was a biochemist who continued to work on chemotherapy drugs, as well as expand his mind in other ways, all his life. He was in his office working just a week before his death at 93! He was also a dedicated Christian, and along with my parents and many others, he kept pressing in to know more of Christ in ever-deepening fellowship. That’s an example worth following! As a pastor I desire to inspire others to make that their life goal, whatever career choices or other things might be involved. I deal with issues of goal-setting all the time, especially with young people. Clear goals and dreams are wonderful, but I know that I was never so purposeful in my own youth. The most important thing is knowing our Creator and getting with His program for our lives. That’s going to look different for every individual, but it will always include growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Father, thank You for this very clear exposition. Help me know when and how to share it with others, so that those who are anxious about their future path may have peace, joy, and an anticipation of what You are going to do in and through them, for Your kingdom and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!