For my first blog, thought I would share my most recent newsletter article (about Christian growth)
“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Ephesians 4:15-16)
“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God….” (Colossians 1:10)
“We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.” (2 Thessalonians 1:3)
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with every-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
God is in the growth business. He is actively working in individual’s and churches’ lives to transform them into His likeness – pruning out sin (see John 15) and building in holiness – preparing us for works of service, unifying and maturing us (Ephesians 4:11-13).
He uses at least four methods in this process:
Personal time spent with the Lord – reading His word, praying (talking & listening), exercising spiritual disciples (like silence or journaling). A recent study documents this as the number one spiritual maturity measure in a local church.
Teaching & training – Sunday school, preaching, small groups, seminars & special courses – all are designed to grow you in your relationship with the Lord – not just to fill our heads with additional knowledge – or give us something to talk about.
Relationships – whether intentional or unintentional – God plugs us in with other people to mutually grow us into His Son’s image. Of course, He also allows us access to the plug….we do have a choice.
Crises & trials – “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4) We often beg to be spared, or delivered, from trials – little realizing that God is actively using them in our lives to change us – and may continue to do so until we’ve learned and grown.
So are you growing, or stagnating? Plugged in, or unplugged? Rewired, or “retired”?