It does not take much wisdom to understand the importance of growing up physically; with one’s physical growth there is to be growth in the maturation of one’s mind. In life, one who is retarded in growth due to circumstances outside their control generates compassion from many people; vulnerabilities and the innocent can be preyed upon.
When Jesus was but a little boy, he would have experienced the same things other little boys would have enjoyed. Perhaps he played in the dirt, got muddy, had a messy room (so to speak). With Jesus, just as with other little boys, he grew both physically, mentally and emotionally. With him, however, there was something different than other little boys experienced. Sometimes we have difficulty putting our arms around the fact that he was similar to us because he was so different. Yet, though different, the Scripture says, “And as Jesus grew older He gained in both wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52, Weymouth English Translation).
Whatever difference there might have been in Jesus in comparison with other children his age, the fact is, he had parents dedicated to the Lord’s will in their own lives. Jesus’ education would have been, like it should be in our case, was at home from his parent tutelage. He grew into a mature young man in a dark world of sin. Jesus saw all that was about him; by the age of twelve, he had a clear sense, more than his parents did, of what his mission would be. He asked them a question when they came looking for him, thinking something might have happened to him that was terribly horrifying. “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49, New English Translation or NET).
As Jesus was in his Father’s house, we are to be also. It’s not a physical structure that is in view, but the Lord’s church. Because of obedience to the holy will of God, the Lord took each of those who obey his will from the realm of darkness and placed them in the realm of light; the apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Ephesus, “for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (Eph. 5:8, ESV). This expression pertains to growth in the Lord; just a few verses later, Paul said, “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (5:17).
There is a natural process in growth, if the body is given what it needs. If not, then growth is stunted, it is retarded and in short-order withers. This applies to one’s physical well-being and it also applies to one’s mental faculties, but even more so, in our context, to one’s spiritual health. If one does not grow in the Lord’s grace, then the one who does not grow is not prepared spiritually.
In the long ago, Jeremiah struggled greatly in handling the oppressive spirit of the people. The Lord understood, but the Lord’s understanding was expressed in an exhortation that was to generate in Jeremiah the proper response of preparing himself for the struggle ahead. “If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you are so trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?” (Jer. 12:5, ESV).
To grow as the Lord would have his saints grow takes effort, but it also takes desire. Within your heart you need to instill the Lord’s word because it is the Lord you seek to please. One can’t please the Lord without knowledge. Thus, to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, one needs to learn his will and make specific applications to living a holy life. RT