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Growing in Christ

Growing In Christ - Appetite
Growing in Christ is a life-long journey where every experience along the way offers to enrich us. We are given opportunities to grow, to develop a Christ-like nature that coincides with that of our Heavenly Father. God created our innermost being in a fearful and wonderful fashion. As God shaped us, we were given the deposit of divine life (Psalm 139:13-16). Either we try to make ourselves grow in holiness and fail miserably, or we must yield and cooperate with the glorious intentions of God. “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen” (2 Peter 3:18).

Growing In Christ
When we first acknowledge Jesus Christ as our Savior, we become reborn. As with all newborns, our desire for nourishment becomes fervent and frequent. An infant’s piercing cries display a hunger that must be immediately satisfied. As Christians, we also should desire God’s Word so that we may grow up. “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk so that you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Peter 2:2).

The goodness of God cannot be tasted in a cursory manner. We must see, hear, and touch; to truly taste the graciousness of Christ. The prophet Jeremiah understood the importance of making God’s Word part of his life by digesting and assimilating every morsel. “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight...” (Jeremiah 15:16). In growing, we learn that nothing is more agreeable to our soul and spirit than Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life. As we profess Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, we take Him into every relationship and in every capacity in which we act, including our appetite for Him.

David took great pleasure in the Word of God. Having a spiritual taste to read the Bible daily reflects an inner savor and relish of divine things. “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103). Often people associate “diet” with reducing their entire intake of food. Diet is not simply about eating less; it is about conscientiously ingesting more of the right things—less artificial, superficial; more authentic, i.e. the Truth.

It is in the Word of Truth that we grow and are nourished by the Lord. The spiritual food that we receive is then at home in us and remains as He is in us (John 15:7). Soon, we discover that God’s promises are there for us, ready to give energy to our entire being.

Growing In Christ – Adversity
Spiritual growth results from trusting God, especially in times of adversity. The psalmist, David, understood that God guards and keeps all those whom He saves, preserving their eternal lives for His heavenly kingdom (Psalm 86:2, 13). A life of faith will enable you to trust God increasingly with every difficulty you encounter. With each faithful prayer we are drawn closer to the Source of spiritual joy and peace.

Believers who are entitled to the greatest joys frequently must endure the greatest sufferings. Jesus Christ suffered more than any of His disciples were asked to suffer (Isaiah 53). Like the first disciples, we will grow as we discover that the testing of one grace produces another.1 We then continue to mature as we persevere through prayer. Anxieties and insecurities vanish as our steadfastness guides us nearer to maturity (James 1:2–4).

We will find ourselves growing in Christ as we cultivate the ability to release all of our burdens to God. Even the best Christians tend to struggle under the burden of excessive worry. Jesus reminds us that we are told not to fear for what tomorrow holds (Matthew 6:34). Each day brings its own burden of cares and concerns. It also brings with it its own strength and supply. If new trials and troubles arrive daily, God’s help and provision are also being provided anew (Lamentations 3:22–23).

Growing In Christ – Affirmation and Acceptance
When was the last time that you received uplifting confirmation from a supervisor, a close friend, or even a family member? Perhaps you were surprised, encouraged, and even humbled. Every living being on earth craves affirmation. God also wants us to grow by affirming our acceptance through Christ Jesus.

  • “I AM GOOD.” We are a new being, a new creation made possible through the suffering of Christ Jesus on our behalf. It is only through Jesus that we share all the promises of the Bible, giving us the confidence and assurance that promotes our growing in Christ (Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 1:6).
  • “I AM LOVABLE.” Christ went obediently through His sufferings, and that is why God loved Him. The Father loved Christ as His Son, and Christ loves us as His children. We will grow in Christ as we imitate God in mercy, holiness, and above all love (John 15:9; Ephesians 5:1–2).
  • “I AM A RESPONSIBLE PERSON.” We are each capable of establishing a “heart-to-heart” relationship” with the Lord. Growing in Christ requires a continual repentance, constant faith in, and thankfulness for the love of our Redeemer (Romans 10:9–10; 1 John 1:9).
  • “I AM A VALUABLE AND IMPORTANT PERSON.” We know we are on a healthy path of growing in Christ by because of our relationship to the Lord. Believers who are joined to Christ are one spirit. We are set apart for God’s use because Jesus paid the price for our sin (Romans 14:7–8; 1 Corinthians 6:19–20).
  • “I AM CAPABLE OF DOING GREAT THINGS.” Acknowledging our weaknesses as we depend on God’s power and sufficiency brings maturity. Power that comes from the Spirit of God nourishes our inner being best (2 Corinthians12:9; Ephesians 3:16).
Without unity, our inner being as well as our external members would cease to function or grow. God’s affirmation and acceptance brings unity through Jesus Christ. The union of Christ and His “bride” the church is beyond unaided human understanding. It’s not simply maturity in Scriptural conviction or personal maturity in relating well to others. Growing in Christ reveals a maturity of a perfectly balanced character in Him. As believers we are the thriving, growing body of Christ that is built up “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).

1 Grace denotes the limitless and undeserved kindness and mercy of God that is freely given to human beings. Jesus Christ’s being was full of divine goodness and favor which was intended for the blessing of God’s people.

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What do you think?
We have all sinned and deserve God’s judgment. God, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him. Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, declaring, "Jesus is Lord," you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven.

What is your response?

Yes, I want to follow Jesus

I am a follower of Jesus

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How can I know God?

If you died, why should God let you into heaven?

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