Luke 2:52

“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” (NIV)

Over the next few weeks, we are going to focus on the four key areas that were the most important in Jesus’ development: our relationship with God, our relationship with other people, our physical health, and our capacity for gaining wisdom. Now these weren’t just four random categories that Luke records about Jesus’ maturity. In the Old Testament, we read that “the young Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with man” (1 Samuel 2:26). The balance between our body, soul and spirit is significant.

Our physical health impacts our emotional health. As I am writing these words, I am experiencing the fatigue of having lost sleep because of an emergency trip to the veterinarian last night with our cat. Then, I lost more sleep, because I had to pick up the cat early this morning from the “ER” vet and deliver him to the regular vet. With the help of sugar and caffeine, which are incidentally poor substitutes for sleep, I am making it through the day. But, I’m not feeling great physically or emotionally. So, I’m not evaluating my job performance or anyone else’s today. I’m doing my best to avoid taking on the cares of the world today. Tomorrow will be better, because my body will be better rested.

Sometimes we make a mistake in thinking that our spiritual relationship will “bail out” what lacks in other areas. “I’m tired, Lord, give me strength.” “My marriage is strained. Lord, heal my spouse.” “I made bad decisions. Lord, change my circumstances.”

This is why our spiritual growth has to be multidimensional. If we’re tired, we need to go to bed earlier. If we’re struggling in a relationship, we need to get some help in finding favor with that person. If we’ve faced the same circumstances again and again, we need to reflect, consult with others, and become wiser. And, yes, God is always there for us.

As we begin this new study, what is your greatest area of need? Physical health? Growing close to God? Relationships with others? Gaining wisdom? Ask God, right now, to help you see clearly what you should focus on in the next six weeks.

Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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