But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ. Ephesians 4:15 NASB
Grow up – “I am in deep repentance,” I heard the voice on the telephone say. “I didn’t realize how slowly I had been slipping away. Over time I just stopped praying, stopped studying. I know now that it was real spiritual warfare, all because I allowed some things I never should have allowed. God brought me to my senses. Now I see that I needed to go deep, really deep. And it starts with deep confession. I have sinned.”
To grow up we must grow down. We must put roots deep into the soil of God’s grace. There is no point at all in asking what we will grow up to be until we have first learned to grow down into Him. That growth doesn’t happen naturally. It is a disciple of the soul to grow down. The bottom is our goal. From there shalom accompanies us.
When Paul exhorts us to grow up into Him (the words “aspects” is added to the text), he uses the Greek verb auxano. You’ll recognize our English word “auxiliary” from this root. It means “to increase, to enlarge, to grow.” It’s important to recognize that this increase comes from something outside the person, not from the person himself. Just as seeds need water and sunlight added to them in order to blossom, so we need added to us the grace of God and the work of the Spirit if we are to grow into (eis) Yeshua. It doesn’t occur without outside action. That’s why the Spirit comes to bring remembrance and conviction. To grow up, we need the action of the Spirit to grow down.
That doesn’t mean we are passive. The implication behind auxano is that life is there waiting to be nurtured. The seed must respond to the water and the light. We must respond to the Spirit. Life is waiting for the gentle hand of grace, the power of conviction and the will to humble ourselves. God promises that this combination will always result in growth.
There is another Greek verb for growth, prokopto. It is about human achievement, results that often occur in the context of growing evil. This is advancing, enlarging, expanding under my own effort alone. When Yeshua says, “Without Me you can do nothing,” He is giving us a warning. It is possible to grow up without growing down, but the end is emptiness and destruction.
Look to your roots. Dig deep. Get watered and enlightened. Grow down into the good earth. It begins with “Lord, I have sinned. I have sinned. Bring me back to You.”
Topical Index: down, grow up, auxano, prokopto, Ephesians 4:15, repentance