As we emerge from a year of navigating a season of significant change, this is a perfect opportunity to take stock of where you are today and where you need to be in the future. Unlike most other life activities, such as the transition through a school curriculum, the expectation of advancing productivity levels at work and an increase in life responsibilities, our Christian walk has a fluid development approach that allows us to grow at will. Throughout Scripture, we learn there is an expectation of growth – God wants to see His children bear good fruit.
Take a moment to reflect on these questions:
• When God looks at me, what does He expect to see?
• Have I made good use of the gifts, opportunities, and time that I have been given?
• How have I grown over the past 5 or 10 years?
• What steps do I need to take to advance to the next season of my life?
Growth can take shape in three forms: Depth, Breadth, and Height. Let’s explore each of these below.
GROWTH TYPE #1: DEPTH
‘Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him…’ Colossians 2:7 (NLT)
Your depth phase is where you establish your roots by growing in knowledge. This type of growth often takes place entirely out of the limelight, requires a lot of discipline, and is the foundation of any growth plan. When the seed is placed into the soil, it first grows downwards to ensure there is enough room to develop healthy roots. The level of depth required will vary according to the seed or the plant, but with each stage of maturity, there is a new depth to be attained.
GROWTH TYPE #2: BREADTH
‘Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes…’ Isaiah 54:2 (NIV)
Growth in God is generational; it expands beyond just you. That’s why the tree does not bear one fruit and then die. It produces to reproduce. This is your infrastructure for growth. Do you have the systems, processes, people, etc. in place? At this stage, you should expand your network and surround yourself with the right people who will help you grow. In order to expand your breadth, you will need to have a catalyst, cultivator, and collaborator in your network.
• Your catalyst will unlock what is on the inside of you.
• Your cultivator is there to help you strategise. He or she is an honest sounding board, who is there to help you maximise on your strengths and develop your weaknesses.
• Your collaborator is there to help you make the best use of your time, resources, and talent. He or she will provide the structure and direction to stay focused and on course.
GROWTH TYPE #3: HEIGHT
‘From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.’ Luke 12:48 (NIV)
This is the growth that normally everyone sees, and is the fruit of your ability to perform at the level and progress required to take on more responsibility. We know the popular passage in Luke 12 that states ‘to whom much is given, much will be required’. This Scripture speaks of the person who knew and failed to act or who acted incorrectly.
There are four categories of competence:
1. You don’t know what you don’t know
2. You know that you don’t know, and often times do nothing to correct this
3. You do what you know, but require some guidance or effort
4. You do what you know with mastery
When a student comes to the end of the university term, there is an expectation that they should have acquired some form of knowledge and understanding of the elements outlined on the course syllabus. If they followed the programme, attended the classes, and put in the extra reading time, there should be evidence of growth. Based on this evidence, they can expect to graduate to a higher level where they can be entrusted with more responsibility.
When Jesus stood before the fig tree in Mark 11, when fruit is in season but He found there was no fruit, He was disappointed. When God looks at you, and considers where you have been planted and the resources at your disposal, will He see the right level of growth? Will there be any fruit in season? If you’re uncertain, I encourage you to not waste this moment. Take intentional steps to grow your knowledge and network, so you can be elevated to a higher level of responsibility.
Written by: M. Jasmyn Allen