How We Grow
First, why should we grow? If we’re saved, we’re bound for Heaven, can’t we just wait it out? The first reason we should grow is because JESUS COMMANDED IT. In Matthew 28:19-20, commonly called ‘the Great Commission’, Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you”. That means someone (your pastor) needs to fully train you, and in order for you to be trained you have to be there and listen and apply those instructions. The second main reason we should grow is because we’re in a war. Would an army be successful if the soldiers became lazy and complacent, didn’t work out, and didn’t practice combat drills? Would you want to be in that army during battle? Ephesians 6:12 explains the war we’re in – it’s not against people, or against another religion, or against a government, but against the spiritual forces of evil. Basically, satan and his demons. How do you plan to fight him if you’re ill prepared?
How do we grow then? Well, just like any other thing, both intellectual and physical. You study, you train, you test. The first thing to do is get involved in a church that teaches straight from the Bible. I’ve heard so many genuine Christians who want to grow explain why they can’t or won’t go to church – it doesn’t hold water. Church is like basic training / boot camp. It provides accountability, chances for growth, and basic training. Church shouldn’t be just a social club, or something you go to out of obligation. It should be a place to refresh, to regroup, and to gain knowledge to apply throughout the week. You can grow alone, but many things are provided in a church environment that you can’t get alone.
Second, get a version of the Bible that you can read and understand. If this will be your first time reading it through, consider ‘the Message’ Bible – it’s written in modern, easy to understand language, much like a novel. Later on it would be good to get another version to study from. Read a portion every day – this is how we see what God is like, what His plan is, etc. Next, reserve a portion of time everyday to pray. I recommend first thing in the morning, before you start the day and become busy. Take time to praise God, thank Him for what He provides, pray for the needs of others, pray for your needs and whatever else comes to mind. Treat it as a conversation with a friend, and remember that He wants to hear from you. Some other ways to grow include reading other Christian books, listening to Christian radio, or finding someone to mentor you. There are plenty of good books on topics you may want more information or clarification on. Courtney and I personally listen to Christian radio – sometimes at home, sometimes while we’re driving. If you find a station that is more talk-oriented (we prefer this) there are generally some excellent programs on there from nationally known pastors and speakers. Mentors can see characteristics in us that need to be developed or removed or changed – generally something we can’t see ourselves.
Once you start growing, the tests will come. But we’re going to save that for the next post.
The BOTTOM LINE: If you aren’t growing, you’re wasting time and resources.