By Jennifer Moreno
Ephesians 4:14 – “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”
G-d wants us to grow up. He doesn’t want us to remain as children, but instead as people who work towards bettering our character. G-d is all about character development and he works with our character transformation throughout our entire lives. It’s always an unending process.
Our heavenly father’s goal is for us to mature and develop the characteristics of Jesus Christ. The character of Jesus Christ is essentially a mirror to the father’s heart.
Sadly, many Christians grow older but never grow up. They’re stuck in what you call “perpetual spiritual infancy.” The reason for that is that they never intended to grow and barely tapped into the power, yes power, that G-d can bestow upon us as we walk with Christ.
As believers we have power — power to heal, power to influence, power to uplift, power to do many things for the Kingdom of G-d. But in order to do all of these things, we must be willing to grow, we must want it, decide it and make an effort.
Spiritual growth is not instant it is gradual, but it won’t come unless it is intentional.
Discipleship, which is the process of becoming like Christ, starts with a decision. When Jesus spoke to his disciples to be — he simply invited them and they got up and followed. Whether they understood all the implications of their decision or not, they went forward with faith.
Mathew 16:24 highlights what I just mentioned- “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.'”
Just like everything in life, nothing shapes your life more than the commitment you choose to make. How much of a commitment you put to something is how much you will see fruit. We become whatever we are committed to.
It’s at the point of commitment where most people miss the mark of G-d’s purpose for their lives. Some are afraid to commit to anything and just drift through life, others make half-hearted commitments, and some make full commitments to worldly goals…like career, success, becoming famous, but none of those things will really bring any value to your life. If those things define who you are, my friends, those things will fade away and pass. 1 John 2:17 shows it – “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
In the Bible the apostle Peter also warns us of this – 2 Peter 3:11 “Since everything around us is going to melt away, what holy, godly lives you should be living!”
So how do we grow spiritually? To grow in Christlikeness we must start making Christlike choices and depending on his spirit to help us fulfill those choices. Once we get serious about it, we must begin to make a conscious effort to act in news way, let go of old ways of thinking, letting go of bitterness, resentment towards people, developing new habits and intentionally changing the way we think.
It’s incredibly hard, I’m not saying it’s easy. It’s especially hard when we’re dealing with day to day problems at work and at home. But fortunately we’re not alone in this. You can be certain that the Holy Spirit will help you make these changes. It’s a constant process.
When you become born again, meaning when you accept Jesus Christ in your life, you have been given a new life. And now you have a responsibility to develop that new life.
The Bible speaks of this in Proverbs 4:23 – “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” Behind everything you do there is a thought behind it, every action is prompted by a motivated belief, by an attitude.
Keep this in mind – the way you think determines how you feel and the way you feel influences how you act –you are what you think!
In the Bible Paul says – “There must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes.” Essentially our spiritual growth starts in the mind and then transfers into actions, so we must renew our minds.
Paul expands by saying 1 Corinthians 3:11 – “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”
There he’s speaking about leaving the selfish ways of thinking behind, we must not be like children, by nature children are completely selfish. We must grow up and let our selfish ways of thinking behind.
The Christian life is far more than a statement of faith and convictions, it includes conduct and character. Our beliefs must be backed up with Christlike behavior.
Fortunately we have help! As 1 Corinthians 2:12 says ‘G-d has given us his Spirit. That’s why we don’t think the same way the people of this world think.’
Therefore my friends, I leave you with this last verse in 2 Peter 3:18 – “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”
G-d bless you all and may G-d be with you!