Over the years I’ve asked myself, “How did Jesus grow?” In the Gospel of Luke, we find a very interesting passage of scripture that actually gives us a peak into Jesus’ personal growth journey. In fact, it’s the ONLY place in Scripture where we get a picture of what happened between the time Jesus was born and the time he started his public ministry. Let me set the stage.
After Jesus was born, and after Joseph and Mary fulfilled their sacred duties according to the Law, they returned to the city of Nazareth. Beginning in Luke 2:40 (and through the remainder of the chapter), we see four dimensions of Jesus’ growth.
1. Jesus Had a Posture of Growth
Luke 2:40 says, “There Jesus grew up, maturing in physical strength and increasing in wisdom, and the grace of God rested on Him.” Verse 52 says, “And Jesus kept on growing—in wisdom, in physical stature, in favor with God and in favor with others.”
Notice the “ing” in Jesus’ growth. It’s a present perfect progressive tense, describing an action with past, present and future implications. He WAS, IS and WILL mature, increase and grow. Jesus exhibits an active posture of continual growth.
When you don’t embrace a posture of growth, you simultaneously eliminate the benefits of growth. If you’re not careful, you’ll become irrelevant to the world around you. As Eric Hoffer once observed:
“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”
Don’t let that happen to you. When what you learned no longer works, what you learned may be your greatest liability. It may be time to unlearn what you’ve learned so you can learn something new. As UCLA coaching legend John Wooden observed, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”
A posture of growth doesn’t have an expiration date. Too many people graduate learning when they graduate school. Author and pastor Andy Stanley makes a poignant observation with special application for young leaders:
“In the early years of your career, what you learn is far more important than what you earn. In most cases, what you learn early on will determine what you earn later on.”
A lifelong posture of personal growth is committed to learning, growing and expanding right up to the end of life. It’s the pre-requisite for a lifetime of maximum contribution.
2. Jesus Prioritized His Areas of Growth
Luke 2:52 says, “And Jesus kept on growing—in wisdom, in physical stature, in favor with God and in favor with others.” Notice the four areas in which Jesus grew:
• Mentally (wisdom)
• Physically (stature)
• Spiritually (favor with God)
• Socially (favor with others)
This is a good reminder that our growth must reach into the critical areas of life. If you grow mentally but ignore your physical growth, your life may have an early expiration date. If you grow socially but neglect your relationship with God, you’re walking on thin ice.