Growth is a natural thing. Where there is no growth there is something wrong. Perhaps there is disease or some other malfunction. Babies grow, plants grow – and so must Christians. There are five main things that are essential for a Christian to grow, and they can be illustrated by reference to our human bodies. What do our bodies need to grow? Well, they need air to breathe, food to eat, water to drink, and we need warmth and exercise. Let’s take each of these items in turn and see their parallel in our Christian life:
1. WE NEED AIR TO BREATHE – PRAYER
How long can you hold your breath? Ten minutes? Half an hour? Three days? I doubt if you could do it for more than a few minutes. Just as our natural bodies need air to breathe so our spiritual life needs to breathe the air’ of God through prayer. Getting to know God through regular prayer is as vital to the Christian as breathing. Jesus showed us how to pray in what’s become known as the Lord’s Prayer which you can read in Matthew 6:9-13. See what the Bible says: Pray continually (1Thessalonians 5:17), Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Philippians 4:6).
2. WE NEED FOOD TO EAT – THE BIBLE
We cannot live for long without eating proper food. In the same way, we need to get into the way of having good meal from God’s Word each day. Some Christians use daily Bible Reading notes. These notes are published especially to help us by giving a small portion for each day and helping us understand what we read. See what the Bible says: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2Timothy 3:16). Love the Bible, Learn the Bible and Live the Bible!
3. WE NEED WATER TO DRINK – THE HOLY SPIRIT
Ever had that dried up feeling, desperate for a drink? It’s easy for Christians to get dried up’, that’s why we need the Holy Spirit. Jesus gave us the invitation to drink of the Holy Spirit (see John 7:37-39), and we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit because he gives us the power and guidance we need to live the Christian life God’s way. See what the Bible says: Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
4. WE NEED WARMTH – FELLOWSHIP
There’s nothing like sitting near a nice warm fire when it’s freezing cold outside. When we become a Christian we find that there’s a hostile world out there, and suddenly it seems like it’s becomes freezing cold outside’. That’s why we need the warmth of Christian love and fellowship. It’s cold on our own and soon we go cold where God is concerned if we don’t meet with other Christians. Going regularly to church is so important for our growth and spiritual well-being. See what the Bible says: And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:24-25).
5. WE NEED EXERCISE – SHARING YOUR FAITH
Ever felt really tired? We need a good rest. But there are other times when we feel tired and sitting around only makes it worse – we need exercise. The Christian needs times of rest – being refreshed through reading the Bible and resting on His promises- but the Christian also needs exercise. Serving God and telling others about Jesus gives us good spiritual exercise, and when we’ve done it we feel all the better for it. See what the Bible says: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).