Shaping Disciples: Understanding How Christians Grow

White Wing Messenger|May 2020

Shaping Disciples: Understanding How Christians Grow
The process of growth can be somewhat deceiving to the human mind.
Joy Hensley

We hear how gardeners plant seeds, water, and reap the fruit of their labor. We hear how creatures and even babies go through a growth process before they are brought into the world. It seems pretty simplistic; the process starts, you wait for an amount of time, and suddenly the process is over, and you have the end result. Once the end result happens, the process is over either permanently or it begins again from the first step. While there are many parallels in how believers grow, develop, and mature, there is also tension and joy in discovering that we will never, while here on earth, reach that end result, and that the process is many times dark and painful. Eugene Peterson said, “The person who looks for quick results in the seed planting of well-doing will be disappointed. If I want potatoes for dinner tomorrow, it will do me little good to go out and plant potatoes in my garden tonight. There are long stretches of darkness and invisibility and silence that separate planting and reaping.

During the stretches of waiting there is cultivating and weeding and nurturing and planting still other seeds.”1 To many, this can seem frustrating and almost pointless. Why grow as a believer if you cannot experience the fulfillment of reaching and enjoying that final achievement?

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May 2020