Spiritual growth should be as natural to the Christian as apples are to a healthy apple tree. God made us to grow both naturally and spiritually. The healthy child doesn’t need to force themselves to grow and the Christian shouldn’t either.
Spiritual growth should come from the deep love a disciple has for Jesus and thus they should sense God leading them to good pastures and pruning them to bear much fruit as they daily abide in Him.
2 Peter 1:1-11, “1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: 2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
(1) SPIRITUAL GROWTH AS EASY AS 1-2-3!
- Believe Jesus is who He said He is! 2 Peter 1:1-2, “Our God and Savior.”
- Believe you are who Jesus said you are! 2 Peter 1:3-4, “A Partaker in the Divine Nature.”
- Believe you can do what Jesus said you can do! 2 Peter 1:5-11, “Increase in the Seven Attributes of Faith (Goodness, Knowledge, etc.) and Never Stumble.”
(2) TWO CLARIFICATIONS OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH
- Your spiritual nature and identity is not the same as your spiritual maturity and growth.
- Your sanctification (freedom from sin and being made holy) is not the same as your transformation (living free from sin and acting holy).
SPIRITUAL GROWTH = KNOWING & SHOWING
- SPIRITUAL GROWTH: The process of transformation by which the disciple increases in their knowledge of God and shows it by living holy.
- Example 1: Every time the believer learns something new about God as it pertains to His will for their life and lives it out they grow and transform. (Remember, transformation is not about becoming a “better person” but rather “acting like the person Jesus already made you to be,” Ephesians 2:10). First, Christians are made God’s masterpiece and then second, they do good works!
- Example 2: Think of spiritual growth as the practical ways you discover who God made you to be and acting like it. Just like how perfectly virgin born Jesus grew in wisdom and stature (Luke 2:52) by doing the perfect will of the Father. Likewise, we were born again perfect (godly, holy, and purified) in our spiritual soul (Hebrews 10:14,12:23) and should live out the perfect will of God (Romans 12:2).
- KNOWING (FAITH): Faith is the gift of God which is given to all who willing receive the Word of God (Ephesians 2:8 & 2 Peter 1:1). Mankind cannot choose faith unless God’s grace first frees our will, which was bound to the flesh because of Adam’s curse (Romans 3:10-18). Yet, since the fall, God has graciously freed man’s will through the light of Christ (John 1:4-5) partially in nature via the conscience (Acts 17:27-28) and completely through the preaching of the Word (Romans 10:17).
- Faith’s Attributes: According to Hebrews 11:1 (KJV) faith is, “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
- Faith’s Necessity: Hebrews 11:6 (KJV) states that without faith, “it is impossible to please him:for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
- Peter Helps Us Understand Paul & James in Regards to Faith: Some have pitted James against Paul in their teachings on faith (James 2:24 & Romans 5:1). However, Peter is teaching that faith alone saved us, but like James said, true biblical faith has additions (evidences).
- GROWING (FAITH’S SEVEN ADDITIONS): The seven qualities that our faith should have in an increasing measure thus making us effective and productive in our faith and keeping us from stumbling.
- Goodness: Be good according to the Bible.
- Knowledge: Continually study the Word of God.
- Self-Control: Be addicted to nothing earthly.
- Perseverance: Never give up.
- Godliness: Live like Jesus.
- Mutual Affection (Brotherly Love): Treat others like yourself.
- Love: Follow sacrificial love, not selfishness or hatred.
When we truly know God we will grow and show the world that Jesus lives in us!