Sunday, 20 November 2016

Spiritual Growth – Individual, Intentional and Essential

Christians must learn: It’s God’s job to save you but it’s your job to grow you! The Church can’t grow you – others can’t grow you – each of us is the steward and custodian of our own spiritual life. We can’t blame anyone else for our spiritual condition

The last recorded words of the apostle Peter, who reputedly was crucified upside down in Rome were; 2 Peter 3:18 ‘grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen’. Peter’s last words serve as a summons to every Christian to grow. In fact, last words are always of great interest and importance as the examples below show:

Churchill: ‘I’m bored with it all’
Karl Marx: ‘Go on, get out, last words are for fools’
Harry Houdini: ‘I’m tired of fighting’
Humphrey Bogarde: ‘I should never have switched from scotch to martinis’
Frank Sinatra: ‘I’m losing it’
George Best: ‘Don’t die like me’
…and interestingly, the last words of the Emperor Julian after resisting and opposing Christianity in the Roman Empire were ‘You have won O Galilean’ (He always will!)

Spiritual growth is an individual activity - Some Christians never grow; some grow a little, whilst some grow enormously. The reason for the variation is that spiritual growth is the product of individual activity. There is an enormous difference between growing old in the Lord and growing up in Him. One is automatic and requires no effort at all, it’s just ageing. But the other is never automatic or easy. It calls for personal discipline, continual determination, and spiritual desire. Christians must learn: It’s God’s job to save you but it’s your job to grow you! The Church can’t grow you – others can’t grow you – each of us is the steward and custodian of our own spiritual life. We can’t blame anyone else for our spiritual condition. Listen to these words from Paul in Philippians 3 and note the ‘I’... ‘I have discarded everything else’; ‘I no longer count on my own righteousness’; ‘I want to know Christ’; ‘I focus on this one thing’; ‘I press on to reach; Paul is not relying on anyone else to steward his Christian life.

Source: New Boston Church of Christ
Spiritual growth is an intentional activity - Each of us is responsible for whether we run the Christian race or simply take up space on the track. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 9:25 ‘Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training’.  Those who win races are those who are intentional because growth starts with desire. This begs the question; ‘What kind of a Christian do you want to be?’  It should be the intention of every person who has experienced ‘the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ’ to grow in it. There’s a good reason why I can’t play the piano – I gave up lessons! There’s a good reason (or bad reason) why many Christians never grow – they give up the daily call to follow Christ and often become intentional about lesser things!

Spiritual growth is an essential activity - The word ‘grow’ that Peter used is in the present imperative, in Greek meaning ‘it’s a lifestyle not a one-off seminar or conference!’ If we don't grow we shrivel and there is a huge cost to not growing! If growth doesn’t happen then we are left with an inferior, inadequate grasp of something of crucial importance. The more you grow ‘in grace’ the more you have assurance, which expels insecurity and produces praise & great joy. Growing in grace liberates you from legalism & self-condemnation. The Christian life will be ordinary and average unless you discover, grow and revel in grace! The more this happens, the more abundant our life becomes. Simon Ponsonby writes, ‘Many Christians have become dozy and the enemy has subtly sown weeds in their soul’. What an awful phrase – ‘weeds in the soul’. That’s what happens when we neglect our great salvation!

Author: Alan Hewitt - AOG UK National Leadership Team

May God bless and enrich your life

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  1. A wonderful article that emphasises that it is our choice and responsibility to grow spiritually, nobody else's. We can easily slow down or stop our growth if we become distracted or let other things become more of a priority than our relationship with our Father. I pray that we let the Word of God penetrate our minds and to water our spirit everyday and that our relationship and love for our Father continue to grow in abundance.

  2. Thank you SO much Allan for taking the time to Bless the Body of Christ with this very important message. There is nothing more wonderful than growing up in Christ it is the most exciting journey ever. The Bible is a living Word that is hard to put down once you pick it up.
    ALL the Glory to our awesome Triune God Always.
    God Bless you and keep you safe, sister Tina

  3. How I pray that the truth of this blog will touch lives and inspire people to commit to grow in the Lord. We have a responsibility not only to stay in the race, but to keep on running so as to win the gold. When we stand before the Lord we won't be able to blame others for our failure to have grown up in Him. Thank you Alan for a powerful blog.

  4. thank you Alan for this thought provoking blog? which will bless and encourage many? yes its Gods job to save us but our responsibility alone to seek to grow spiritually . Its not an easy path but worth it. When we grow in Christ Jesus we feel a peace and a rightness in our spirit with God. Philippians 3v14 is one of my favourite verses of scripture( I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus) Amen

  5. Thanks once again to remind us as Christians we need to grow in grace not to lean on our own understanding we are to seek God daily that we may grow in the knowledge of Christ and will help others on the journey so that one day will receive the prizes may the peace and blessings of our Lord Jesus be with you all Amen