Growing Up Spiritually: What We Can Learn From Jesus

There is something about Jesus that stands out in the account of His early life with Joseph and Mary as well as His baptism at age thirty in the Jordan River under John the Baptist’s ministry.

Jesus grew up in Mary and Joseph’s household, increasing in wisdom and stature at least as it pertained to His humanity.

Luke 2:51-52

52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

I believe He must have lived and walked by faith in those growing years, otherwise how could He have ‘pleased’ God as the baptism account highlights.

Luke 3:21-22

21 When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. 22 And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”

Never before had anyone, whether they are a prophet, priest or even a king, heard these special words from God.

“You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased” (Vs 22).

First, God focused on Jesus’ sonship. Jesus was His ‘beloved Son’ a – covenant term of endearment. Then He went on to say that He was ‘well pleased’ with Jesus! Notice this was before Jesus had even begun His ministry. He had not performed any miracles – His first was to come later at the Cana wedding where He turned the water into wine. He had not called any disciples, nor had He faced any of the temptations in the wilderness. He was in the starting blocks of His public ministry, yet God was already well pleased. How so?

Jesus had pleased God because of His faith. The book of Hebrews teaches us that without faith it is impossible to please God.

Hebrews 11:6

6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

This applied to Jesus too. He obviously lived by faith all these years as He was being prepared to launch into public ministry.

It was not Jesus determination, talent, obedience to His parents or even His regular synagogue and temple attendance as He grew up that pleased God, good as all these were. No, it was His simple faith or trust in God’s goodness towards Him that pleased His heavenly Father, and which precipitated the favorable public endorsement He received at His baptism in the Jordan.

Likewise, in our own walk with God, we ought to be encouraged that He is pleased with our faith when it is rooted in what Jesus has done for us at the cross, and not in our own efforts. It was at the cross that Jesus paid the price for the total forgiveness of our sin. No amount of obedience to the Ten Commandments, hard work, witnessing, church attendance and service can ever measure up to what Jesus has purchased for us at the cross. We enjoy all that Jesus accomplished by simply receiving His gift by faith.

When we seek Him, we will be greatly rewarded for our faith. He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Nothing has changed since those early days.

As children of God born again of His Spirit let’s keep our eyes on Jesus and His completed work, and not ‘fall from grace’ by relying on our own efforts to try to please God in some sort of Christianized works or behavior modification program. We live and grow in Him by faith and faith alone.

He knows we will fall short of His glory every time, so has provided a way out of this dilemma of sin through His Son. Jesus came as our perfect sacrificial substitute who fulfilled all the Law requirements on our behalf. This is grace: the unmerited favor of God.

Let us gratefully receive the abundance of this grace and the gift of righteousness so that we can reign in the realm of life.

Romans 5:16-17

17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)

Very importantly, the works we ‘do’ therefore are the natural fruit that spring from our abiding relationship with Him. They do not make our faith alive (this would negate Jesus’ role), they merely express His life within (James 2:20).

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