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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Growing or Standing Still

Standing still is actually falling back.

The Celtic Revival: Age of the Peregrini (16)

...and let us all hasten to approach to perfect manhood, to the measure of the completed growth of the fullness of Jesus Christ, in Whom let us love one another, praise one another, correct one another, encourage one another, pray for one another, that with Him in one another we may reign and triumph.

  - Columbanus, Letter to Certain Bishops, Irish, early 7th century[1]

…but, speaking the truth in love, [we] may grow up in all things into Him who is the Head – Christ...

  - Ephesians 4.15

Every Christian has a mandate to grow (cf. 2 Pt. 3.18). To embrace that mandate is to work out your salvation in fear and trembling (Phil. 2.12). Our goal should be, day by day, to improve our walk with the Lord such that, as John the Baptist insisted, Jesus increases in us and our old self decreases (Jn. 3.30; cf. Eph. 4.17-24).

Growing in Christ is not an option. Either we grow in the Lord, or we decline in Him and revert to our old sinful ways or the ways of this secular and materialistic age. Growth in the Lord doesn’t just happen. We must work at it, focusing continuously on the goal of such growth if we’re going to make real progress.

The goal of our growth is conformity to the image of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 3.18); the goal of each day’s growth, therefore, must be to make progress in love for God and neighbor (1 Tim. 1.5). The greatest obstacle to growing in the Lord is being content with the status quo.

Writing early in the 7th century, Columbanus chided the bishops in Gaul because, seeing the many problems that plagued them, he realized they had come to accept their situation as normal – pastors not caring for their flocks, believers indifferent to growing in the Lord, kings and other rulers cutting corners with the Law of God, bishops more concerned about appearances and benefices than the advance of the Kingdom and righteousness of Christ, little in the way of Gospel zeal or holiness anywhere to be found.

We won’t make progress in Christlikeness as long as we fail to address the lingering sins in our lives, or refuse to take up the means of growth.

But our mandate to grow is also a great privilege, for the Lord is at work within those who know and love Him, and who are working at their salvation. He makes us willing and able to grow in our faith and to do the will of God (Phil. 2.13).

We grow as we feed daily on the Word of God, reading and praying the Scriptures into our souls, and living them faithfully in our daily walk with the Lord. The glory we encounter as we meet the Lord in His Word becomes the glory He refracts through us into all our everyday relationships, roles, and responsibilities (2 Cor. 3.12-18; 1 Cor. 10.31), so that, increasingly, He fills our world with Jesus (Eph. 4.8-10).

As we strive to realize the end of growth, and work to make progress in realizing that goal, God the Spirit works with the Word of the Lord to take us beyond where we’ve ever been in our relationship to the Lord, and to make us more like Jesus (Eph. 3.20). Growth is enhanced, Columbanus knew, as we pursue it together, loving, praising, correcting, encouraging, and praying for one another, holding one another accountable in love for specific evidences of Christian improvement.

Are you growing in the Lord Jesus – really, into the Lord Jesus? Is He increasing in and through you? Do you experience the reality of your life being hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3.3)?

There is no standing still in the life of faith. Either we are growing in love, or we are declining.

Examine yourself: Which of these – growing or standing still – best describes you (2 Cor. 13.5)? What can you do to enhance your progress in the Lord, beginning today?

For Reflection
1. How can you tell when you are growing in the Lord?

2. What are the primary hindrances to growth in Jesus you must deal with day by day?

Psalm 19.12-14
(St. Christopher: Beneath the Cross of Jesus)
Who, Lord, can know his errors? O keep sin far from me!
Let evil rule not in my soul that I may blameless be.
O let my thoughts, let all my words before Your glorious sight
Be pleasing to You, faithful Lord, acceptable and right.

Lord, let my body be a proper temple and my life a faithful witness of your purity and selfless love. Use me today to…
We need grace!

We grow in grace by grace as God gives us grace sufficient for all our needs. How does that work? And how can you get in on it more consistently? Our book, Grace for Your Time of Need, can help you become more richly immersed in God’s grace and more effective in communicating His grace to others. Order your free copy by clicking here.

Thank you
Thanks so much to those of you who faithfully support the work of The Fellowship of Ailbe. God uses your gifts and prayers to reach thousands of people every day in over 160 countries. We praise the Lord for His having moved and enabled you to share with us in this ministry.

If you’re not a supporter of this ministry, won’t you please prayerfully consider making a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe? Only God can move you to do this, and we believe He intends to support this ministry from within the ranks of those who are served by it. If this includes you, please seek the Lord in this matter. You can click here to donate online with your credit card or through Anedot or PayPal, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

T. M. Moore, Principal
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All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


[1] Walker, p. 23.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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