Five Virtues of Growth
We have often heard that all growth is intentional; it is not automatic. This is true, albeit a painful truth. However, with a plan of action we can create an environment that will assist the growth process.
J T. Pugh, a great man and mentor, had a series of questions he asked himself in prayer at the beginning of each year.
1. How is my relationship with God?
2. How is my relationship with my family?
3. How is my relationship with my fellow ministers?
4. How are my personal finances?
5. How is my health?
I guess you could call this his rule of five because these areas of life were important to him and he knew that if he got these right, everything else would be right.
When we think that growth is automatic, or we begin to buy into the false assumption that busyness in the kingdom work means we are automatically growing, we are invariably creating a formula for disaster, because busyness is not growth. Only when you spend time in fellowship with the Master will you grow personally and begin to transform your life. You must have a plan if you are to grow.
Brother Pugh’s plan was evident in the way he assessed where he was, which expressed his desire of where he wanted to be. Therefore, he was intentional and so should you be.
If you are going to create a plan that works you need to assess your own spiritual climate and determine if you have these spiritual virtues working in your life. If not, take time with the Lord and his Word, and allow him to speak to you the truths that will change you. Beholding the glory of God in the mirror of His Word changes you into that image. This concept is found in 2 Corinthians 3:18 (KJV) But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
You need Five Virtues
A Teachable Spirit
You must possess a teachable spirit. If you think you already know it all and there is nothing left to learn, you are kidding yourself. To learn new things, we must understand that we do not know everything. The objective is that God’s spirit will lead us into all truth. Being led by the spirit is vital to a growth atmosphere. This is clearly stated in Romans 8:14 (KJV), For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Growth takes time, so be patient. Anyone who wants to be victorious must learn to grow so keep on fueling the inner man, because you grow from the inside out.
A Giving Heart
You have to learn to give up the good in order to receive the best. Yes, you must sacrifice and learn to lose things that create what Dr. Henry Cloud calls, “necessary endings.” Certain relationships need to be put in balance; certain people’s voices need to lose influence and we need to learn to give of ourselves until we reach the goals of growth that God has called us to. Take responsibility for your own growth and determine to never quit until the day Jesus calls you home.
A Listening Ear
He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear. If you are listening to the wrong voices and receive wrong input, you are always going to be destructive because you are operating on false information. You will never gain authority over yourself until you learn to tune out the white noise of false data and tune in to the voice of your shepherd who wants lead you to the place he has secured for you through the cross. Ephesians 2:4-6 (KJV), But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: You can’t grow by working on just your weaknesses. You need to be aware of them but never obsessed with trying to fix them. Fine tune your strengths by feeding them and they will lift you above your weaknesses. This is a powerful principle.
A New Mind
If you only base your opinion on your feelings, you will always create the wrong picture. You need a fresh perspective – God’s viewpoint. You must see yourself as God sees you and fix your mind and prayers on that image – the one He wants and not the one you feel others have of you. Release your past and open the door for God to create a new creature, where the old things have passed away and all things become new. We did not design these principles but we can discover them, apply them and leverage them for our benefit. Growth is the process of discovery where you recognize the principles that God created and accept his design rather than the enemy’s design. God wants you to let go of old patterns and receive new inspiration to alter your course and eventually your destiny. All it is takes is one change. You are one step away from a new life and a new victory.
A Fresh Vision
Remember your purpose. Understand that if we designed our course we would eliminate all difficulties and crisis. But God in His wisdom understood the molding process is necessary; the resistance is necessary to create strength. Don’t allow insecurity to rob you of your growth initiative. If you fail, get back up and try again. As long as you don’t quit you are never a failure. You are as student enrolled in the school of Christ. Some tests we do well on; on others we fail or get a lesser grade, but we can pass the class with flying colors if we learn to hang in there. Once you embrace your purpose, power flows.
If you create a growth environment and use your crisis as an opportunity to go higher, God will give you courage to make the changes necessary to grow and you will become all that God has hoped for you.
You are loved and valued.