Back in January, my wife gave birth to a little boy, Moses. Every time we take him to church, everyone says, “Hasn’t he grown!”. And they’re right. Every week, he’s noticeably bigger than the week before. More importantly, he’s growing up too, and the milestones are being crossed off — first smile, first attempt at talking, and so on.
That’s all very normal, of course, but it’s a picture of what should be happening to every Christian. The Bible tells us that spiritually, every believer should be growing and maturing throughout their lives. When we’re first born again, growth usually happens very rapidly, but although our maturing may slow down, it must never stop altogether.
Of course, it’s not just babies and children who mature physically. Us adults have our milestones as well… often it’s the first grey hair, or the first sign of a bald patch! But what about our spiritual growth? Have we kept maturing, even as spiritual ‘adults’?
So, what does it mean to grow or mature? My favourite definition is ‘constant change for the better’. That’s what every one of us should be praying for and striving for, both in ourselves and in our churches. Constant change for the better rarely happens by accident. It’s something we must be deliberate and disciplined about. It’s worth asking ourselves, and our churches, whether constant change for the better is something we’re even aiming for.
Perhaps you’ve become complacent, and stopped striving for the Holy Spirit to continue to work His change in you, making you more like Jesus Christ. Sadly, sometimes that’s the trap that I fall into, but I’ve found this edition of the magazine enormously helpful, and I pray that you will too.
So, what’s inside? As a taster, Tom Holland discusses discipleship within the church community, whilst Steve and Chris Owen demonstrate that retirement doesn’t mean the end of usefulness. You’ll be both challenged and helped by David Donegani’s story of how an unwanted and enormously difficult providence can make us more like Jesus. There’s also a fascinating article from Alun Ebenezer, reminding us that like us, Jesus had to grow up. Finally, in the providence of God, there are also three obituaries in this edition of the Magazine — three men who weren’t content to coast, but kept on running the race.
That’s just a glimpse, of course. There are many other helpful articles, from both new and established writers. Before you turn the page, why not pray that God would use this edition of the Magazine to encourage you to seek constant change for the better?