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The Shape of Growth

Happy New Year!

I love this time of year because I love beginnings. Whether it’s a book, project, or goal, my motivation to start something is at its peak. My motivation to finish? That's more of a learned discipline than a natural desire. But that’s part of the beauty of a new year—forgetting the unfinished and getting a redo.

However, not everyone feels this way. Some can’t forget the disappointment of 2018. If anything, they hope 2019 “isn’t as bad.” Rather than new beginnings, they’re thinking about surviving. If you’re that person, know that God is close to the brokenhearted. He’s the One who promises “not to crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle.”

No matter our outlook for 2019, this is a good time to consider what our shape of growth may look like.

The shape of growth is unique to the area we want to develop. Vocational growth looks different than spiritual, but they have something in common—both require vision. Often this results in goal setting, and while good, it’s better to consider identity. Rather than asking what do I want to accomplish, ask whom do I want to become?

Since we’ve accepted Jesus, we must consider the shape of growth in a spiritual sense.

What kind of disciple do I want to be this year?

The Apostle Peter said, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence... For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:3,5-8 ESV

There are two layers of responsibility. God is responsible for giving access to “all things that pertain to life and godliness.” We’re responsible for “mak[ing] every effort to supplement [our] faith.”

Peter is addressing the type of person we can become. The shape of growth for a Christ-follower is one who grows in virtue, knowledge (of this faith), self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love.

So as we begin the year, let’s ask what kind of person we want to become.

Take some time to consider the shape of your growth to maximize the opportunities 2019 will present.