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.