My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Hosea 4:6
Spiritual growth begins or should begin the moment faith placed in Jesus translates a person from the kingdom of darkness into His kingdom of light. Knowing where to start or how to proceed from that starting point can be a conundrum. Newborn babies don’t know how to take care of themselves, so we shouldn’t feel embarrassed about having questions or looking for the answers we may need.
Maturing in Christ is not intuitive. Paul took Timothy under his wing; Barnabas came to the aid of John Mark! No matter how far along we are on God’s road, the Lord expects us to continue growing. So, let’s move on to our next level with this convenient study guide and our first online Bible course absolutely free of charge.
Introduction: CALLED TO GROW SPIRITUALLY
What do we mean when we talk about spiritual growth?
Ideas about spiritual growth abound. Depending on one’s affiliation or lack thereof concepts run the gamut from vague generalizations to concrete thoughts and ideas. Some simply say, “I have no god or religion, but I’m a spiritual person.” Other people are very specific about their meaning and might identify themselves with a particular group such as a religious order that has a highly developed way of practicing their beliefs.
Our perspective of spiritual growth is simple yet profound. It is easy to define, but because it deals with the transformation of the heart, it touches the deepest aspects of human existence. Spirituality from a Christian point of view can be summed up in the term Christlikeness, which means that our purpose in growing spiritually is to become more and more like Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
When we are born again, the very life of Christ comes alive in us. Paul said that “it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God.” (Gal. 2:20) In Romans 8:29, he tells us that we were “predestined to be conformed to the image of his (God’s) Son.” Paul is saying that Christ has so overtaken my life that He is actually living His life through me. While not destroying who I am, He is not only transforming me to reflect Him in how I live, but also determining and shaping why or for what purpose I live. Paul also said in the Book of Acts, when he was witnessing about Christ, “In Him we live, and move, and have our being.” Writing to the Colossians about the mysteries of Christ, he said, “God was pleased to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:27) The “hope of glory” is the restoration to the image that man was originally created in-God’s image and likeness.
In Christ, through the new birth, we have been restored to that glory in the hidden man of the heart, while the body awaits the fullness of redemption at the time of resurrection. Spiritual growth occurs when the initial measure of glory, which we received at the moment of the new birth, increasingly shines brighter and brighter in our lives. In 2 Corinthians 3:18, Paul summed it up saying, “to whom God was pleased to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” As our minds (beholding the glory of the Lord) are renewed in the knowledge of Christ, the Holy Spirit works in us to affect changes that make us more Christ-like in thought, word, and deed.
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- : 2018 Carl DiVirgilio, Patricia DiVirgilio