If we understand that ‘Upward’ growth points to a believer’s growing love-relationship with the Lord, then we can understand that ‘Inward’ growth points to his/her growing love-relationship with other believers in the church. God’s love in our hearts is what fuels this Inward growth (Romans 5:5).
1 Corinthians 13 makes it quite clear that if those who belong to a small group community share deep insights, teach Scripture, sacrifice time and energy for the sake of the group, but don’t love each other, then they have done nothing that is commendable.
Friends, we were created to live with one another in growing love-relationships. Jesus spent His entire ministry loving everyone, including the outcasts – those who felt they had no place in God’s eyes.
In the church we must do all that we can to inspire the building of healthy small groups – places where everyone can experience unconditional, undeserved acceptance and love. Inward growth is contingent upon Upward growth. As we continue growing Upward in our relationship with the Lord, we can continue growing Inward in our relationship with one another.
Inward growth takes place only when we practice love with another. This practice must be constant, not intermittent.
How is your Inward growth?