Love, Learn and Live are the three words that characterize a true disciple of Jesus Christ. Each of these three words have two aspects to them. The two aspects of love are believe and worship. I spent four weeks writing and preaching about the two aspects of Love. The first aspect of love, believe, is to receive the love that God expressed for us on the Cross of Calvary by receiving Jesus Christ as their savior. Worship is how we return God’s love. Learning has two aspects as well. I spent the next two weeks writing and preaching about the first aspect of learning, which is belonging. Jesus taught that He was the vine and we are the branches, it’s living in “connection” with His body, the church, that we learn what it means to be a true disciple. The next two weeks I intend to focus on the second element of “Learn” which is growing.

When we first come to faith in Christ, our faith is like a tender shoot. It’s even compared to such in the Bible. It is bent and driven by every change of weather. But it must continue to get stronger as it takes its nourishment from its connection to the tree. As it grows stronger it becomes able to bear heavier burdens and to handle all severe weather conditions. Growing disciples have growing faith. Notice that the nourishment that is drawn from the connection is taken out of an endless supply of sustenance. When Paul wrote to the Colossians he exhorted them and us to let our “roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong…”

The next truth is crucial. That endless supply of nourishment that God provides abundantly is His love. (We go back to the first word!) Paul wrote to the Ephesians and told them and us what he was praying for for them. It was “that from His unlimited resources, God will empower you with inner strength…that your roots will grow down deep into God’s love and make and keep you strong.(See Ephesians 3:16-18). He goes on to pray that we will continued to grow in understanding the depth, height, breadth and width of God’s love. Grasping that truth about God’s disposition towards us, is what nourishes true growth! One phrase that has struck me in my 30+ years as a believer never gets old with me. I say it a lot: Faith is believing that God has my best interest foremost in mind regardless of the circumstances in my life. As your roots go down deep into this truth you get stronger in the changing weather of life.

“We ought always to give thanks to God for you…because your faith is growing abundantly…2Thessalonians 1:3