Spiritual growth happens when we are truly connected to God. But the process that God chooses to make growth happen is through our connection to one another. So our relationships in the church are critical to spiritual growth. We actually get to play a part in not only our own spiritual growth but in the spiritual growth of those around us.
One thing that we must be clear on is that we can lose connection in the first place. Paul speaking to the church in Colossae teaches that when we lose connection we begin to believe and teach all sorts of strange things (Colossians 2:19). So the disciples were warned against losing their connection to God and thereby their connection to one another. And if that connection is lost then we also lose our connection to spiritual growth.
We see this concept of growth coming through our connection to one another in the letter to the church in Ephesus as well.
From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:16
God intends that we would grow through our connection to one another. This is the process that God has established. Our relationships are paramount to our spiritual growth. This concept is not a Central Jersey “thing”, this concept is a God “thing”! This is not a plan B but God’s plan A for spiritual growth! When we are not engaged relationally we are working against God and the process that he has chosen to use to help to grow spiritually. When we put to practice the countless “one another” passages we are taking part in the process that God has given us to grow spiritually.
It’s no wonder that we are designed to connect. We are like an electric plug. Whether it has two or three prongs, it is designed to be connected. It is of no use if it’s unplugged. But when it is plugged into the power it fulfills its purpose and goes from useless to useful. The same with us, we are design to connect. And when we are connected we fulfill our purpose and gain access to the power that leads to growth. When we are not connected, we are essentially, useless.
We also must remember that proximity does not equal connection. A chord near an outlet is powerless. No matter how close it is to the outlet. Until it is connected to the outlet or the power source it will not fulfill its purpose. You can be present at church and yet not be connected. I’m reminded of a quote that has been attributed to several people, “Just going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.” We take part in the process that God has established when we actually engage in spiritual relationships as God has instructed us.
Speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15)
Encouraging one another (Hebrews 13:3)
Teach one another (Colossians 3:16)
Admonish one another (Colossians 3:16)
Confess to one another (James 5:16)
Pray for one another (James 5:16)
These are just a few passages that show us how to take part in the process that leads to spiritual growth. If you want to grow, you must connect to God and thereby to one another. And through that connection to one another we can take part in helping one another to grow as God intended. Let’s not solely be men and women of potential but let us become the people that God created us to be. Spiritual growth is awaiting us!