I sometimes ask kids how they grow. They just look at me, shrug, and tell me they don’t know. It’s just what kids do. They eat. They play. They sleep. They do normal things, and day by day they grow and mature.
As adults, we’re sometimes confused about how we grow. There’s a multi-million dollar business out there focused on personal growth. But kids never need to learn how to grow. They grow by doing the things that children are supposed to do.
The same is true of us: we grow not by doing extraordinary things, but merely by living the normal Christian life.
Things That Normal Christians Do
In Acts 2, we read some of the things that new Christians did soon after they believed the gospel:
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47)
When we read this passage, we’re tempted to focus on the extraordinary elements of their life — that they sold their possessions and shared the proceeds, for instance. But I’m struck by the ordinary, not extraordinary, things they did:
- they devoted themselves to teaching
- they lived in relationship with each other: eating, sharing, and living ordinary life together
- they celebrated the Lord’s Supper
- they prayed
They didn’t live the extraordinary Christian life. They did ordinary things on a regular basis.
Embrace the Church
If you want to grow, embrace doing the ordinary things that Christians do within the church. We’re tempted to look for extraordinary things: a new conference, book, or radical new insight. But growth comes from pursuing the ordinary Christian life together.
Never underestimate the power of doing the ordinary things that we’re supposed to do together. Instead, build a pattern in your life. Make a point of committing to do these ordinary things on a regular basis. It’s countercultural, ordinary, and absolutely necessary.
Mark Dever writes:
…the local church is the natural environment for discipling. In fact, it teaches that the local church is itself the basic discipler of Christians. It does this through its weekly gatherings and its accountability structures, as well as its elders and its members. These in turn provide the context for the one-on-one discipling we have been considering so far…
In the New Testament, the local church is at the very center of the disciples’ obedience and discipling work. It’s not optional; it’s basic.
Embrace the Ordinary to Grow
Want to grow? Embrace the ordinary. Find a local church. Devote yourself to the teaching of God’s Word. Celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Pray. Live in relationship with other Christians.
There’s nothing extraordinary about it, but it’s exactly what we need to grow.
Want to learn more? Check out How to Grow: Applying the Gospel to All of Life.