“Nobody automatically drifts into spiritual growth and stability, but anybody can drift out of dedication and growth.” – The Bible Exposition Commentary
“So is it the intention of God, and the duty of the Christian, that there should be spiritual growth.” – The Pulpit Commentary
Today, I want to ask you – are you
“growing” or are you drifting?
It is the intention of God that you experience spiritual growth. In fact, it is your duty as a Christian that you experience it. The Christian life is a growth! You are to grow to full maturity!
But you must realize that you are either growing in your spiritual walk or else you are drifting out of your dedication and growth.
Which is it?
On a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis, you should – in fact, you must – be experiencing growth in your spiritual walk with Jesus! It is imperative that you are!
Even the best persons are in need of improvement!
You must grow! You must make progress! You must make continual advances. This is done by actually resolving to grow – by pressing resolution into action.
Such growth is necessary for steadfastness. It is the only effectual preservation from assaults and seductions of all forms and from falling off in times of great apostasy.
The Biblical Illustrator said – “Growth demands earnestness. No one grows who does not mean to grow.” “Growth demands exercise.”
The Scriptures imply that it is a command – and not a suggestion!
Let’s examine a few verses to see exactly what they say on this matter!
Ephesians 4:13 and 15 says – “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ… may grow up into Him in all things, Which is the head, even Christ.”
With the influence from above, you are to “grow” more and more into Christ’s likeness – while “growing” out of self (meaning self-indulgence, self-exaltation, and self-consciousness.) You are to reach for that state of spiritual manhood both in understanding and strength where you are filled with Christ to the point of Him being all in all.
Besides Paul, the Apostle Peter also spoke of “growth” for the Christian.
2 Peter 3:18 says – “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”
Here you find two kinds of growth that must keep equal pace. If you grow in the one, you will grow in the other!
In a sense, what Peter was saying here is this – “Being ‘in grace,’ grow! Being ‘in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,’ grow! Do not stop ‘growing’ until you reach ‘the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ!’ “
We see in the Scriptures that when the chief thing is mentioned first, then that which leads to it or is the cause of it is mentioned second. Hence, “grace,” as the “chief thing,” is mentioned first, with “the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” as that which “leads to” or is the “cause of” “grace” being mentioned second.
What Peter was saying here was that in “knowledge” is where you will find “grace.” It is the means by which “grace” is multiplied to you. In other words, all “grace” flows from or comes through the “knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” as found in His Holy Word. It is the sphere in which “grace” is communicated to you. No one has “grace” except he has the “knowledge” of God!
So, the more you read and study God’s Word and gain a “knowledge” of Him, the more “grace” will be operating in your life!
How important is it that you, as a believer, “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…”?
“Growing in grace” – God’s divine power and life – hinders the growth of spiritual corruption. It keeps you from being “led away with the error of the wicked.” (2 Peter 3:17) It enables you to endure trials and suffering (if need be). It causes you to increase in a spirit of conformity to the will of God and to become more like Jesus.
Every “grace” (given by God) is capable of growing and increasing. For example, in 2 Thessalonians 1:3, Paul mentioned two sister graces – “faith groweth exceedingly” and“love toward each other aboundeth.”
The “grace” of “faith” is meant to “grow luxuriantly” above measure where the believer demonstrates a more confident reliance on Jesus and a constancy in suffering. The “grace” of “love” is meant to increase in intensity and in fervor where the believer demonstrates the disposition that thinks the best of others.
Are you “growing in grace”?
How much of the following evidence is your life showing?
- Increased holiness of life and conversation
- Increased abhorrence of sin – feeling less disposed to compromise, less relish for the world, less desire for its wealth, honor, and pleasure
- Increased profound humility – having a greater sense of your own defects and failings and the shallowness of your own understanding
- Increased faith and love toward Jesus
- Increased delight in the fellowship of the saints
- Sharpness of appetite and fervent longing for the things of God
- Having less and less anxiety about worldly things – being raised above the world – regarding less and less the good or ill opinion of men
- Being more actuated by the determination to do right rather than actuated by emotions and feelings
- Finding it more and more easy to exercise a forgiving spirit for enemies
John Wesley once said – “The end and design of grace being purchased and bestowed on us, is to destroy the image of the earthy, and restore us to that of the heavenly.”
Is this happening in your spiritual walk with Jesus? Is the “image of the earthy” being replaced by the “image of the heavenly”?
I ask you again – are you “growing in grace”?
Just as there is clear evidence for “growth,” there is clear evidence for “declension.” If you are losing your spiritual appetite…growing more worldly… and being less troubled about sin in your life, then you are not “growing in grace” but “declining.”
A valid question to ask at this point is – what hinders the “growth of grace”? “Grace” cannot and will not “grow” where there is love of any sin …corruption of the heart…weakness of the flesh… or indifference where your mind becomes less and less affected with the sense of the preciousness of Jesus.
Matthew Henry said – “By how much the stronger grace is in us, by so much the more steadfast shall we be in the truth.”
And, oh, how being “steadfast in the truth” is needed in these last days when many are “turning away their ears from the truth” (2 Timothy 4:4)… “changing the truth of God into a lie” (Romans 1:25)…and “holding the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18)!
As the “whole world lies in wickedness,” (1 John 5:19), a stronger “grace” is needed in order to “deny ungodliness and worldly lusts” and “live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:12)…to “live honestly” (Hebrews 13:18) in a “perverse and crooked generation” (Deuteronomy 32:5)…to “have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men” (Acts 24:16)…to “show yourself a pattern of good works” (Titus 2:7)…to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” “in the midst of wolves” (Matthew 10:16)…to “run through a troop” and “leap over a wall” set forth by an ungodly culture (Psalm 18:29)…and to “do valiantly” and “tread down” any and all “enemies” (Psalm 108:13).
But, in addition to “grace,” the Apostle Peter said that you – as a Christian – must“grow …in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
As already mentioned, the “knowledge of Christ” is essential for “growth in grace.” In order to know Christ in the highest sense of the word, you must first “grow in grace.” The better you know Him through His Word, the more you will “grow in grace.” The more you “grow in grace,” the better you will understand His Word.
The Pulpit Commentary said – “There is a natural connection between the increase of knowledge and the increase of grace.”
It is God’s will that you labor to “know” Him more fully…more clearly…to “know” more of Him…to “know” what things He approves…and to “know” Him to a greater purpose so as to be like Him and to love Him better.
The Apostle Paul reached after and desired to obtain such a “knowledge.” (Philippians 3:10) So should you!
You cannot make right advancements unless you gain more and more “knowledge” of Jesus.
In closing, I leave you with this quote from Charles Spurgeon – “Many Christians remain stunted and dwarfed in spiritual things, so as to present the same appearance year after year.”
What about you?
May God Bless His Word,
No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. (Isaiah 54:17)
© COPYRIGHT Connie Giordano – All Rights Reserved