“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever!” — 2 Peter 3:18
Swimming is fun and relaxing for children under close supervision, but it moves from fun to competition on high school and college swim teams. In March, the California Golden Bears won the 2022 NCAA national championship for men’s swimming and diving. Before they reached the pinnacle of the sport, however, the team members first learned to dog paddle and tread water. Eventually, they learned the backstroke, freestyle and sidestroke, as well as others.
Competitive swimmers are some of the best athletes in the world. Some competitors race 800 meters, which is more than the distance of eight football fields. If individuals prepare for such events, they develop strong lung capacity, strong muscles, agility and incredible determination for weight training and daily swims for hours at a time.
Just like top athletes move from the shallow end to deeper waters and larger swimming pools, a growing Christian continues to reach greater heights in spiritual maturity. We should not simply tread water for a lifetime.
Just like top athletes seek constant improvement, Christians should aim for excellence in our character and conduct. Even though the apostle Peter was a spiritual leader, he warned that anyone can get lazy or overconfident and stop learning and growing. Therefore, he challenged us to grow in the Lord until He takes us to Heaven. “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
In a similar way, the apostle Paul urged us to follow his example by stretching our spiritual muscles for diving into the depths of spiritual maturity. When Paul prayed, which he did a lot, he prayed for continuous spiritual growth in and through the lives of his brothers and sisters in Christ. “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones” (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13).
Are your spiritual muscles growing?
— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Georgia
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