I hope that this Lift update, even as it is my first of 2008, doesn’t come across as a “New Year’s Resolution”, but instead as a life long target for Christ- followers to continually strive for! About 6 months ago, I was encouraged by a friend who shared their insight into trying to look deeper into the very short statement of Luke 2:52. It wasn’t even the first time I had contemplated this verse, but truly, I’ve been trying to “walk it closer” in my life every since.
Luke 2:52 “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”
We get this verse from when Jesus was about 12 years old and after this short statement, the Gospel story picks up again when Jesus was about 30 years old and about to get baptized. This verse is about all we’ve got from the Bible to fill that 18 year gap of Jesus’ life and little, if not any, is recorded anywhere else. What did Jesus do during those 18 years? Where did he go? What was his life like? There are some conceivable and even someone credible “suggestions”, but from the Bible we’ve basically just got: “and Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men”.
This is a simple statement, but to think that when the account of Jesus’ life story picks up again at around age 30, it bridges what we don’t know to what we do know about His ministry to followed! We know that, in less than 3 years, He changed the world with his Message, His actions and His dying on the cross for our sins and His rising again three days later as a Risen Savior. To think that he grew in wisdom and stature, in favor with God and men during the preceding time, is something to look into and contemplate. There is something about this to take from God’s Word and try to apply to our lives here and now. “To grow is wisdom and stature” seems to mean that I don’t just get smarter about God’s Word, but grow to understand God’s Word and let the Holy Spirit apply it in my life, daily, this year and for the rest of my life. “And in favor with God and men” emphasis a priority in life as well. “To love God and love others”, to live the great commandment Jesus gave us as his followers should be one of our priorities which brings a great outcome as well. As we love God – which by the way is our top priority – we find favor with Him and we also gain favor with our fellow man, if even in God’s eyes only.
The question that I keep asking myself is, “How can I grow is wisdom and stature?” At one point, I split the two and tried to first consider the wisdom part which can be grown in practical ways with the obvious things like praying, going to church, reading my Bible, studying my Bible (there’s a difference!), asking other mentors/teachers that I value for their insight and learning from what God has been teaching me through life experiences. I’ve challenged myself over and over to keep trying to figure out deeper aspects of these and to envision other ways to grow in wisdom as well. Of course, I also took on the other point, which is growing in stature and how I can do that. Clearly, this verse is mostly referring to a child growing up but since the Gospel account picks up at age 30 for Jesus, there might be more to this word. Can our “stature” besides growing up, also grow older, more out of shape? My stature sure doesn’t always grow the way I intend it to and my belt size may increase, but my biceps decrease. So taking care of my body, eating right, exercising, sleeping well and overall healthy living influence my growth in stature . But, I’ve really been challenged to NOT overly split them and be intentional to do both, grow in my Godly wisdom and live and eat healthy, ongoing and at the same time. What good is it if I have strengthened my Godly “heart” but then have a “heart attack” with my physical heart at a young age? What good would it be for me to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger (when he was 30 of course; have you seen him lately without a shirt?) but make poor life decisions and miss God’s love for me or lose sight of Jesus in my life? I’m aiming for long term progress in BOTH, growth in wisdom and stature and all the while loving God and loving others and as a result growing in favor with God (which is enough) and with others (as they will see our integrity as well).
So again, this isn’t about 2008, but my walk with God, now and for the rest of my life, “How can I grow in wisdom and stature?” What are ways that I haven’t considered yet? What are things that I need to improve upon? What are ways that are working for me? I’m not perfect, nor do I have it all figured out yet, but I’m definitely going to continue the journey of asking the questions and taking actions along the way to grow in my faith in the Lord!
One last thing; “HOW CAN YOU GROW IN WISDOM AND STATURE? (and in favor with God and men?) Think about it. Meditate on it. Contemplate it. I believe you’ll find your answers, but the answers perhaps aren’t the point as much as the process of seeking Him is! I read something to that effect in the Book!
In His grip and grace,