It has been such a privilege to watch my baby girl quickly grow up; my husband recently mentioned how amazing it is that just a few months ago she couldn’t even hold her head up, but now she’s pulling herself up on everything she can get ahold of (watch out, hamsters!) But my little one isn’t the only one growing; I’ve been doing some growing myself.

Although I physically stopped growing at the age of fourteen, I started my journey of spiritual growth six and a half years ago when I accepted Christ as my Savior. In those early days, I felt like I was growing so quickly, just like my little girl has grown in the first few months of her life (she’s already twice as big as she was when she was born!) However, eventually her growth will slow down; it would be terrifying if we continued to double in size every few months. In the same way, my spiritual growth has slowed down over the years. However, there is a big difference between our physical growth and our spiritual growth: one day, my little girl will stop growing physically, but I am determined to never stop growing spiritually! In fact, God tells us in His Word that it is His desire for us to grow.

2 Peter 3:18

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.

To have healthy spiritual growth, we must feed ourselves spiritually through God’s Word. Just like my baby wouldn’t grow if she didn’t eat, we can’t expect to grow spiritually without the food of God’s Word. As we grow, we will also grow in our understanding of God’s Word.

1 Peter 2:2

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

When we begin our walk with the Lord, we feed ourselves with the simple truths of the Scriptures, just like my little girl lived on the simple food of milk for the first six months of her life. But eventually, she was ready for something more. Now she’s eating all kinds of solid, more challenging foods in addition to the milk!

1 Corinthians 3:2

I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

As we grow, we will be able to understand the deeper truths of the Scriptures, and, in turn, we will grow even more.

The Bible says in Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” If we want to be filled, if we want to grow, we may need to change what we are hungry for. What does your spiritual “diet” consist of? Are you feeding yourself with God’s Word? I have begun to have more and more of a hunger for God’s Word, and I can promise you that it always satisfies.

Don’t settle for a stagnant Christian life; if you feel like you’re stuck, go to the only spiritual food source that will satisfy, and fill yourself with God’s Word. If you do, spiritual growth is sure to follow.

This year, I have been praying through Scripture. I have found that it centers my prayers in the things I know to be God’s will. A couple of nights ago, as I was rocking my eight-month-old to sleep, the Lord brought the verses about the fruit of the Spirit to my mind.

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

It took longer than usual to get my baby to sleep that night, and I had lots of time to meditate on the verses and pray through each individual “fruit.” It turned out to be an especially wakeful night for my little girl (getting her first two teeth in two weeks’ time has not been fun!), and praying through these verses was really what got me through the night.

Love

God, would You help me show my sweet girl Your love tonight?

Joy

Lord, please give me joy, even through my exhaustion.

Peace

God, I need Your peace in the midst of the ordinary life You have called me to right now.

Longsuffering

Father, it’s taking longer than I thought it would to get this little girl to bed tonight; please give me patience.

Gentleness

God, help my sweet girl to sense Your gentle kindness in my touch tonight.

Goodness

Lord, help me to be good to this little baby and care for her, even when my selfish heart just wants to go to bed.

Faith

God, help me to be faithful in my service to my family, especially my little one right now.

Meekness

Father, give me a humble heart to serve my baby girl.

Temperance

Lord, give me self-control over my unruly emotions; I know I could easily become frustrated in this moment.

The more I prayed through these verses and meditated on them, the more I began to realize that all of these characteristics work together to form the character that God desires to be evident in the lives of believers.

The next day during my little girl’s nap, I was reading Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson. Interestingly, she mentioned the fruit of the Spirit, and expanded upon some of the thoughts I had had over the course of the night. The following is an excerpt from her book:

Rather than thinking of each attribute as a different kind of fruit–an apple, an orange, a pear, etc.–I remember that a single piece of fruit, like an apple, can have different attributes. Though it could accurately be described as crispy, sweet, smooth, red, round, and firm, it is still one piece of fruit. Similarly, the word fruit, in this verse, refers to one fruit with many attributes.

The Bible says “the fruit of the Spirit is,” not “the fruits of the Spirit are.” The attributes mentioned as the fruit of the Spirit are inseparable from one another, and they work seamlessly together to make us into the Christians God desires for us to be.

Sally Clarkson continued her discussion on the fruit of the Spirit by saying,

As you and I grow in Christ and dwell in fellowship and agreement with the Spirit of Jesus inside us, all of these attributes grow bigger and stronger, even as an apple grows from a blossom into a fully ripe apple that is ready to be picked. As God’s Spirit works in our lives, we will be progressively reflective of all He is.

Although the fruit of the Spirit carried me through that sleepless night, I know there are many times that these attributes are not evident in my life. However, as I seek to know God more, I know that I will continue to be more like Him. None of us will be perfect until we get to heaven, but our lives should show a pattern of spiritual growth.

When I was a teenager assisting in a children’s church class, one particularly exuberant teacher challenged the children to be “fruity for Jesus” as she taught a lesson on the fruit of the Spirit. Although it sounds silly, that saying always stuck with me. Let’s all determine to be “fruity for Jesus” as we seek to become more like Christ as we walk with Him.

My senior year of high school, I was very restless. Life was changing around me more quickly than I could grasp it, and even though my home, my church, and my school were all I had ever known, I was losing my attachment to those things. I was losing my desire to stay there. I was ready to move on.

My mom would tell me that God was like an eagle “stirring the nest.” This comparison actually comes from the Bible.

Deuteronomy 32:11

As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:

In this passage, Moses is talking about how God treated the children of Israel. But what does it mean for a mother eagle to stir up her nest?

When the time comes for an eaglet to leave the nest, the parents begin to make the nest less comfortable. They stop bringing food to the nest so frequently. The eagles are not neglecting their baby; they are doing what is necessary to motivate the eaglet to move on to greater things, like flying.

I’ve found that God does this for me whenever it’s His time for me to move on to the next thing He has for me. However, recently I’ve been uncomfortable, not with my situation in life, but just with this world in general. A worldwide pandemic has a way of changing the things in life that make us comfortable. It’s left me hungry for something more.

I believe with my whole heart that God has been stirring my nest to create a greater longing in my heart for heaven. I believe He could come any day. I don’t have this belief just because of my current circumstances; I believe this because the Bible says we should always be ready because we don’t know when Jesus is coming.

Matthew 24:44

Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

The Bible also says that we should be watching for Jesus to return.

Mark 13:35

Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:

Have you been watching? I know I haven’t the way I should. But God has used my current circumstances to stir the nest a little and make me just uncomfortable enough that I have His coming on my mind. I’m not making a prediction that Jesus will come back in a specific time frame; no one knows when He will come back.

Matthew 24:36

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

However, I do know that He is coming “soon.” I don’t know what that means exactly, but I do know that I want to be watching. I’m glad He’s stirring the nest a bit; I’m ready to take flight to the incredible future He has for me in heaven!

Revelation 22:20

He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.