The true source of Spiritual Growth is what we call a “God Thing.” We are all called to make disciples of Jesus in His Great Commission, but all we can do is plant and water. Just like any other plant, the rest is out of our hands. Paul made this clear in his letter to the Corinthians. He writes in 1 Corinthians 3:6, “I planted the seed. Apollos watered it. But God made it grow.” The focus of our faith is not on the one who planted; neither is it on the one who waters. Hopefully, there will always be workers in the field, but the true credit for any growth is God’s. That’s what Paul meant when he continued with the next verse: “So the one who plants is not important. The one who waters is not important. It is God who makes things grow. He is the One who is important.”

It takes time for anything significant to grow. A dandelion can shoot up overnight. An oak tree takes decades and more. Good growth, however, needs more than time. It also needs the right kind of soil. The soil needs to be prepared. In the spiritual life, it’s the Spirit of God that prepares the soil. Once the soil has been prepared and the seed planted It needs some tending to.  But all the tending to and caring for the seed will not guarantee any kind of true spiritual growth. Spiritual Growth is just that, it’s Spiritual, and no one can harness the Spirit. Jesus said it comes and goes as it wills. Jesus said, in John 3:6-8, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, you must be born again. The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

 If I were to ask you what the book of Jonah in the Bible was all about, you’d probably say it was about a man who got swallowed by a whale while he was running from God. Well, that’s true, but it’s not really about a great big fish swallowing a man. The whale is only mentioned four times. It’s not about the repentance of a great city. Nineveh is only mentioned nine times. Really it’s not even about a disobedient prophet. Jonah is only mentioned 18 times. There are many players in the story, including a fish, a plant, a man and a storm and a ship and a crew, and many other things. But it’s really all about God, who is mentioned 38 times in the four short chapters of Jonah. The book of Jonah is really about How God uses his people to reach others, even when they don’t want to. It’s also about how God works in Jonah’s life to help him grow in love and care for others. We need to let God do “His Thing” in our lives. We need to let God do His work in us. Paul tells the Colossians, in chapter two, verse 19, “Christ…is the head of the body. Under Christ’s control, the whole body is nourished and held together by its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God wants it to grow.”