Room to Grow

Michael Beck

Click play to listen to the sermon.

David found himself suddenly plunged into stressful situations that affected him deeply.

My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest. (Psalm 55:4-8)

Outside events often threatened to overwhelm David. When he took his emotions to God, he was not moved to hastily take a wrong path.

As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice … Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. (Psalm 55:16,17, 22)

What goes on spiritually, “under the surface” of our life, ultimately determines the “fruit” of our life.

Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. (Matthew 12:33-35)

There is often a great gulf between who we are and who we present ourselves to be.

And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee. But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I. And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all. (Mark 14:26-31)

We are not how we feel at any given moment. We are what we let control our spirit and move our body to action.

Jesus felt angry at times. He also felt frightened. But was He an angry person? A fearful person?

Peter felt anger in the garden. He felt fear in the courtyard. These emotions came suddenly upon him, but he had not learned Christ yet. He needed to grow. As a mature disciple he admonished his fellow believers to grow.

Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (2 Peter 3:17,18)

There can be no real outward change unless there is inward change. The internal change takes place “under the surface” where our spirit interfaces with the Spirit of Christ.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

changed > Gr. – metamorphoo > KJV – transfigure 2, transform 1, change – to change into another form, to transform, to transfigure

Being in Christ is the first step to growth. But it is only as we learn to walk in Him that we will rooted and established in the faith.

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6,7)

God uses events that stress us emotionally to develop in us a “root system” that will enable us to endure and give a godly witness to the world around us.

And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. (Mark 4:5,6)

And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. (Mark 4:16,17)

Emotions are our response to events in our life. They are how we are inwardly affected by what is happening to us. When experiencing these emotional reactions we have an opportunity to give place (topos) to the devil or space to Christ.

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place (topos) to the devil. (Ephesians 4:26,27)

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room (topos) for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7)

When Christ dwells in our heart we have the opportunity to be strengthened by His Spirit in our “inner man.” This strengthening causes us to be “rooted and grounded in love.”

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21)

Before our actions are established, our hearts must be established. This can only happen as we let Christ increase in us His love for others when our love is sorely tried

And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints. (1 Thessalonians 3:12,13)

In the fiery trial, or the burning heat of the sun, we have the greatest opportunity to fellowship with Christ and grow into His image.

I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (Revelation 3:18-22)

We give ourselves no room to grow as a Christian when we give no place for suffering in the Christian life. Peter would have become like the Laodiceans, and never grown as a believer, if he had maintained his early aversion to the cross. He came to embrace suffering as God’s means to maturity.

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:10,11)

The Father desires much good fruit in the lives of His people. He would have this fruit “fill” the face of the world. This will only happen as their lives “take root” in His Son.

He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit. (Isaiah 27:6)

And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward (Isaiah 37:31)

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.