What a joy it is to become God's child! When you are baptized into Christ, you are united with the Savior. Your sins are forgiven and you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. You become part of God's family and have the promise of everlasting life.
A birth, however is not the end but the beginning. A birth produces a precious child; but if that child never grows up, something is wrong.
When you become a Christian, you become a child of God; but your Father expects you to grow. He gives you the ability to grow, but you have to exercise the responsibility to pursue growth. How does a Christian grow? Let's look at some passages that tell us.
CRAVE GOD'S WAY
LIKE NEWBORN BABIES CRAVE PURE SPIRITUAL MILK, SO THAT BY IT YOU MAY GROW UP IN YOUR SALVATION, NOW THAT YOU HAVE TASTED THAT THE LORD IS GOOD. (1 Peter 2:1-3, all quotes NIV)
How do you grow as a Christian? First, you have to say no to the ways of Satan. You can't keep living like a street kid when you've become a child of the King. In addition, you have to CRAVE the milk of God's word. Do you know how desperately a baby wants to be fed when it is hungry? In the same way, a Christian (of any age) should eagerly desire to fill his or her mind and heart with God's truth.
GROW IN GRACE AND KNOWLEDGE
GROW IN THE GRACE AND KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESU CHRIST. (2 Peter 3:18a)
Peter gives you two more specifics on how to grow. First, you grow in grace. You are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). You are "justified freely by his grace" (Romans 3:24). You have to understand grace if you are going to understand your salvation and how to live as a person not saved by grace. Grace is not a license to do what you want. Grace "teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age" (Titus 2:12).
Second, you grow in the knowledge of Jesus. Your faith has to have a foundation of knowledge, not just of emotion of what you hear other people say. You have to be reading the Bible. You have to be spending time in classes or groups where the Bible is taught accurately. You need to learn from the wisdom of older Christians.
BE INVOLVED IN THE CHURCH
FROM HIM (Christ) THE WHOLE BODY, JOINED AND HELD TOGETHER BY EVERY SUPPORTING LIGAMENT, GROWS AND BUILDS ITSELF UP IN LOVE, AS EACH PART DOES ITS WORK. (Ephesians 4:16)
Study Ephesians 4:16-11 to get the context for this verse. It says that church leaders have the responsibility to help Christians grow. You need to seek out leaders who will do that. This passage also says that you have to be connected to the members of the body as all are connected to Christ. A severed hand or foot will not grow. It is through active fellowship with the church that you will find an atmosphere that encourages growth. This passage also says that you have to give of yourself. You grow as you live a life of service and see how the teachings of Christ make a real difference in the lives of others through you.
BE ABLE TO TELL OTHERS
THOUGH BY THIS TIME YOU OUGHT TO BE TEACHERS, YOU NEED SOMEONE TO TEACH YOU THE ELEMENTARY TRUTHS OF GOD'S WORD ALL OVER AGAIN. YOU NEED MILK, NOT SOLID FOOD! ANYONE WHO LIVES ON MILK, BEING STILL AN INFANT, IS NOT ACQUAINTED WITH THE TEACHING ABOUT RIGHTEOUSNESS. BUT SOLID FOOD IS FOR THE MATURE, WHO BY CONSTANT USE HAVE TRAINED THEMSELVES TO DISTINGUISH GOOD FROM EVIL. (Hebrews 5:12-14)
A good indication of how well you understand something is whether you can explain it to someone else. You should have a goal of being able to teach God's truth to others, whether in the fellowship or in evangelism or both, one on one or in a group. This passage also gives you a good definition of maturity; by constant use of God's truth, you come to know good from evil. You don't learn the truth in order to leave that knowledge on the shelf, but you grow in your understanding in order to live a more godly life.
A LIFETIME OF GROWTH
You'll never be through growing in Christ. That should not discourage you but encourage you. God's grace and truth will always be a beacon for you, calling you forward and showing you his way. May God bless you in your spiritual growth!
To study further, contact us at:
Blacksburg church of Christ
315 East Eakin Street
Blacksburg, VA 24060