If we want to understand spiritual growth, we need to study stuff that God makes, not the stuff that Steve Jobs made, no offense to Steve Jobs. We need to study agriculture, not human inventions. The more we are removed from the way we process food, the less we understand how God actually works, the more susceptible we are to self help lies and dogma. We don’t understand that you put a seed in the ground, water it, give it enough sun light and then it grows….and that is how your faith works. We think no, you enter this many Bible verses, as if a human being is just a series of responses to “if…then” statements, you spit out some sort of changed life. That’s not how it works at all. It works like farming, not like your computer. We are human beings, not machines…and we transform only under certain conditions and if things are nurtured. You cannot download information into my brain and have it change me. It won’t work.
We cannot control what is going to happen with the people we lead. All we can do, like a farmer, is create the environment and conditions under which people can flourish in God.
Or, as Paul put it, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.” Everywhere I go, church leaders are trying to study and replicate spiritual growth, but it seems to me that we’d go much further if we studied the conditions and environments for growth and kept ever at the forefront that God causes the growth and God works in God’s time and God’s ways, often spectacular, sometimes mundane, always miraculous.