God wants His children to grow. After receiving new life in Christ, the child of God begins the process of spiritual growth. It is normal for every Christian to have that desire to grow toward spiritual maturity.
By His divine power
God alone is our resource for growth. “By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life” (2 Peter 1:3). All growth comes by grace through God our enabler. And as affirmed by our Lord Jesus, the child of God will have the promised Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth (refer to John 14:15-21 and 16:13-15). Praise God. He provides all that is needed for our growth.
Growth requires intentional pursuit
But there is no shortcut. Growth will take time. Neither does growth happen automatically – it requires intentional pursuit on our part. Listen to the counsel given to Timothy: “Train yourself to be godly. Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:7-8).
The key to maturity is to consistently “let the Holy Spirit guide your lives” (Galatians 5:16). We respond to the Spirit’s leading and put into practice disciplines that will strengthen us.
(1) Regular intake of God’s Word
The longing for the Word of God is essential for spiritual nourishment. Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4). This applies to young as well as long-time Christians.
(2) Intimacy with God through prayer
Prayer is God’s gift to us. We are invited to come boldly to the throne of our gracious God to receive mercy and find grace (Hebrews 4:16).
William Carey shared, “Prayer—secret, fervent, believing prayer—lies at the root of all personal godliness”
(3) Confession of sin
We should adopt the same posture as the Psalmist, asking God to search and test our hearts (Psalm 139:23-24). And when His penetrating searchlight reveals specific sins, we must confess and renounce that which grieves our Lord, and to make restitution where it is required. We have this assurance that “if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9). This enables us to maintain spiritual hygiene.
(4) Fellowship with the saints
We do not function as solo Christians. The Lord has provided us with a community of faith. We can be of encouragement to one another. We can spur each other on in our discipleship walk (Hebrews 10:24-25).
(5) Minister with our God-given gifts
We grow when we serve. God has given us spiritual gifts to use for His glory (1 Peter 4:10). Amazingly, when we serve using what the Lord has entrusted us, we grow. We may be stretched in ministry. The exercise of our spiritual gifts in fact helps to build our spiritual muscles.
(6) Protection from temptation
The temptations we face in life are no different from what others experience (1 Corinthians 10:13). We are exhorted to “put on all of God’s armour so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11). This requires deliberate action. As we draw on the strength provided by the Lord and experience victory, we will grow in our walk.
(7) Faithful stewardship
A child of God will recognize that all that we call “mine” indeed is an entrustment from the Lord. God is looking for faithful stewardship in our lives (Luke 12:42-44). We begin with the little things that are placed in our hands. The exercise of faithfulness in the use of our time, talent and treasures, and the opportunities He provides, will strengthen us and lead to spiritual maturity. Christian maturity does require a radical re-ordering of a person’s priorities. Having confessed Jesus as Saviour and Lord, the disciple’s allegiance is now changed.
We are to turn from pleasing self and men to pleasing God. Obedience to God is paramount. May you and I grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:17-18).
By Ps David Yap, Advisory Pastor (YCKC Bulletin 2&3 March 2019)