ARE YOU GROWING SPIRITUALLY AS A CHRISTIAN?

Every Christian must know that God’s will is that we continually grow spiritually. His will is that we emulate the life of Christ. This is not possible unless we study the Bible to know why and how Christ lived. Reading the Bible is also for our protection. It provides knowledge that protects us from false teaching that can get us sidetracked from maturing spiritually.

I Peter 1:13 – 16 – “So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” NLT

Holiness begins with the proper preparation of our minds. Our minds must be holy if our behavior is to be holy. For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. (Proverbs 23:7) – Our minds must be under the control of the Holy Spirit. We are to live a life of hope by faith. We are not to be negative, pessimistic, judgmental or even fatalistic. We must live our lives as God intends: We are to have a life of joy with the knowledge that our rewards in heaven will be determined by our deeds.

A holy life is based on a lifestyle of active obedience. If we are disciples of Jesus, we must overcome our self-centeredness and follow Christ’s teaching. We are told that we must not let our prior desires control who we are and our behavior. We must recognize the source of holiness comes from God’s love. Scripture specifically points out that we can only become holy as we become more like Christ and we cannot be holy on our own. It comes by allowing the Holy Spirit to work through us.

God wants to develop a relationship with us. He cannot do so if we lack knowledge. Yet, many Christians fail to read and study the Bible. Chances of developing a relationship will not happen if you do not know Him or have the faith to believe His promises. Without knowledge you may be led astray by false prophets. There are those who will lead you to believe there is nothing wrong with worldly pleasures. If these influence you, it could cause a Christian to doubt God and you then may disobey Him.

Is there any god that comes before the true God? Do you allow money, prestige, power or other worldly pleasures to become your god? The more I learn from the Bible the more I become aware of my weaknesses and achieve a desire to overcome them. I know how important it is to have a heart that is quick to repent and ask for forgiveness.

Earth is only a temporary place where we live. When we become a Christian we are given a citizenship in God’s kingdom and it is eternal. So we are actually asked to live as strangers in this world but under the rules and regulations specified by the Bible. That does not mean we ignore our U.S. citizenship requirements.

II Peter 1:4 – “And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.”

Christ has given us the power of life. Christ gives us this promise: Believers can participate in the divine nature. Christ promises that we can become Christ-like with a divine nature. It is with our divine natures that we build our relationship with God. However, we are not divine in the way God is divine. The promises encourage us to take action to grow spiritually. Participation in the divine nature enables believers to escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. He tells us how this can be done in the following Scripture:

II Peter 1:5 – 7 – “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.” NIV

Believers are to use God’s power and every ounce of determination to add goodness to their faith. Christ gives us the divine nature and power but it is up to each of us to make every effort to set aside our sinful desires and actively seek the qualities the Bible describes. Goodness means we are to be generous and be cooperative. Knowledge is to lead us to salvation and enable believers to live a godly life. Self-control strives to obtain complete mastery over sinful human desires in every aspect of life. Perseverance is the ability to endure suffering of evil without giving up one’s faith. We are to face adversity at all times with the knowledge that God’s Spirit will assist us. Godliness is an awareness of God is in all of life and a lifestyle that exemplifies Christ and is empowered by Him. Brotherly kindness is an intense love to brothers and sisters who are Godly believers. Love is to be unconditional. It is to love with no strings attached. It is the love that God gives to believers.

Examine yourself! Are you growing spiritually as a Christian? The more we grow the more we want to give of our time, talents and resources. As we grow we should sense more of God’s love. Watch and see God will prepare us for greater tasks once we can be trusted to do His will.

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