OUR CHRISTIAN DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH

 

Before an individual can grow as a Christian they must first be free from sin.  Peter writes: “Wherefore, laying aside al ma/ice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter. 2:1-2).  Later he says, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter. 1:4).  Many Christians seem to be “spinning their wheels” when it comes to Christianity.  They want to be an active Christian, yet they also want to continue to entangle themselves with worldly things.  We cannot develop and grow into the Christian that God wants us to be if we are not willing to give it 100% effort?  Only when we truly “desire” for the righteousness of God will we become a mature, seasoned, responsible, and respected Christian in His service.  We must be determined to escape the world’s lusts and have a living faith toward Christ.  James writes For as the body without the spirit is dea4 so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26).  Our true character, development and growth as a Christian will be evident to all based upon our works.  Our Christian growth will be seen by all without us having to ever say a word.  Remember the words of Paul?  Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers; in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.  Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.  Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.  Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all” (I Timothy. 4:12-15). A Christian’s development, growth, and progress will be evident to all that see him.

 

Conditions of Growth

 

We can only grow in Christ when we place our trust and cares on Him. “Casting all your care upon him for he careth for you” (1 Peter. 5:7).  Jesus pleads with each of us to “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).  When we cast our cares on Jesus, and lean on Jesus, then we are on our way to developing as a Christian ought to.  The worrier, the pessimist, the negative individual will not grow spiritually because they have not learned to let Christ be the center of their life.  When we try to go through our daily tasks without including God, then we have miserably failed.  Each and everyone of us when asked if we would like to grow up to be a strong, active, knowledgeable, fruitful Christian would probably answer YES! What we say we WANT to be and what we actually ARE, often times are two different things.  You see, our growth is conditional.  Conditioned that we STRIVE to be what we say we WANT to be!

 

Steps to Christian Growth

 

So how does an individual grow to become the Christian that God would certainly be proud of?  The answer is found in the Bible Peter writes: “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.  For if these things be in you, and aboun4 they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.  Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (2 Peter. 1:5-10).  We learn that the individual that really wants to develop and grow into a servant of God, a dedicated Christian, realizes there is active work to do.  A Christian is one who is virtuous, longs for knowledge (Ephesians 3:19; Proverbs 24:5), exercises temperance (1 Corinthians 9:25; Galatians 5:23), is patient (Thessalonians 5:14; James 5:8), godly (1 Timothy 4:7-8), shows brotherly kindness always (Galatians 6:10), and understands that all things must be done first of all because of LOVE (I Corinthians 13:1-13).  Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit informs us that if we are actively pursuing these things then we will never stumble?  The apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians and encouraged them to remain faithful and to develop and grow as Christians by saying Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lowly, whatsoever things are of good report; If there be any virtue, and f there be any praise, think on these things (Philippians 4:8).  May we all strive to develop and grow by putting on the fruits of the spirit (Galatians. 5:22-23), and meditating on the good, positive aspects of Christianity.  As a result, people will be edified by your growth and encouragement!