Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Christians Grow Spiritually, Part 3

Chuckle: "A man will laugh at a woman putting on makeup, and then take ten minutes trying to make three hairs on top of his head look like six."
Quote: “Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.--Karen Kaiser Clark
HOW SHOULD CHRISTIANS GROW?
"Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation" (I Peter 2:2 NIV). "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18 NIV). How should Christians grow spiritually?
First, we should Grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. This refers to experiential knowledge, not just knowing facts. It's not knowing about Him, but knowing Him through a personal relationship. To know Christ and grow in Him, we must spend time with Him. ". . I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ my Lord . . " (Philippians 3:8 NIV). Growing in knowledge of Christ means three things:
1. Knowing Him as Savior and Lord. He came into our lives - He saved us - He moved us from death unto life. He calls us sons or daughters. Being saved starts a process of becoming - a growth process. Do you know Him more intimately today than when you trusted Him as Savior? Are your thoughts and actions more like His than they once were?
2. Know Him through His Word and Prayer. . . ." We can say we believe the Bible to be God's Word for us. But, if we don't study it, we're saying we don't believe it; or, at the very least, we're saying it's not important. If we don't see it as essential to our growth and to our witness, we are not growing Christians, plain and simple. You may say, "I'm just too busy to spend more time with God." Martin Luther said, "I have so much to do that I must spend the first three hours of each day in prayer." Spending time with God will help you grow and make better use of the time He gives you.
3. Know Him through obedience. As we learn to obey Christ, our lives will begin to count for Him. Are you a thermometer or a thermostat? A thermometer just registers the temperature around it - a thermostat regulates and sets it. A thermostat makes a difference - it changes things.
Second, we should Grow in the Grace of Christ. Grace is God giving things to people who don't deserve them. This grace can never be earned nor bought. Grace is God's unmerited favor to us, and it should not be confused with mercy or justice. Mercy is not receiving what we deserve. Justice is receiving what we do deserve.
Have you received God's forgiveness? Are you growing in the grace of His forgiveness? When He saved you, God forgave you; yet, many still feel unforgiven. We need to accept as fact our forgiveness by taking God at His word. God's accepts us is by His grace through faith in Jesus Christ. As a child craves nourishment and exercise for physical growth, do you desire spiritual food and spiritual exercise necessary for spiritual growth?
Do you desire to be seen as mature, real, and effective? Or are you more like the Christians addressed in this passage? ". . . by this time you ought to be teachers, but you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's Word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! . . . solid food is for the mature who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil" (Hebrews 5:11-14 NIV).
Love, Jerry & Dotse

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