Growing in Christ

 Written by: Damian Chambers | 2/14/2015 11:59:10 PM |

As a child growing up in the country, part of our summer holidays' activity a part from swimming at the river, playing football and cricket, would be farming.

We would take pods of peas, grains of corn and sometimes a few yam heads from our father's farm and we would plant them in an area that we took as our own farm land.

Excitement would fill our hearts as we see the sprouts coming up, sometimes too slow as it would be a daily venture for us to see how far these sprouts have grown.

As I look back, I honestly do not remember our family benefiting much from our farming. The truth is, I don't think it mattered much to us. What mattered, was that we were excited about farming.

However, for a person who farms for a living their attitude to farming would definitely be different from ours. They do not farm merely because they enjoy watching plants grow, but they farm because they desire to reap and to have a harvest.

So it is with the Christian experience. There are some person's whose Christian experience are like us who farmed for fun—they go through the rudiments of getting baptized, going to Church, reading the Bible and praying, but there is little or nothing to show for their Christianity other than the activities they participate in. They do not have a definite aim in mind for their Christian life, except maybe to make sure that they go to Church every week.

However, like the farmer who farms for a living, who expects to have a harvest, God has expectations of every person who becomes a Christian. The Bible refers to each new Christian as being ‘born again’ or ‘the planting of the Lord’ (John 3:3, 5, 6; Isaiah 61:3). And like the farmer, who plants and nurtures his crop so that he can have a harvest, God’s desire for every Christian is that they grow up in Him to be mature; fruit-bearing sons and daughters of God. The fruit, here, represents the reproduction of Christ’s character in the life of the Christian.

According to Ellen G. White in her book Christ Object Lessons, page 67, “Christ is seeking to reproduce Himself in the hearts of men; and He does this through those who believe in Him. The object of the Christian life is fruit bearing—the reproduction of Christ's character in the believer, that it may be reproduced in others”. 

According to the Apostle Paul in Romans 8:29, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. ”

The goal of the Christian life; the finished product is for us to become like Jesus. The Apostle John also noted in 1 John 3:2, 3, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” 

We shall be like Jesus, not only physically, but also in Character.

It is very important for each of us to understand what growing up in Christ means and why they need to grow up, for without a clear understanding of these things the Christian experience can prove to be quite frustrating and discouraging. Not knowing why we need to grow up as Christians and what growing up means is like traveling on a difficult road without having any sense of purpose and direction. With such an outlook on the Christian pathway, the experience will appear to be merely an endless array of difficulties and obstacles.

Therefore, discouragement and self-pity are easily welcome by those who do not have a clear idea of where they are going. In the face of discouragement persons usually respond by either doing one of three things—give up on their Christian life; settle for a mediocre Christian experience (one that experiences little or no growth) or formulate their own standard of what it takes to perfect the Christian walk (legalism).

During this series of Devotions, we will be looking at:

“Why is growing up so important?”

“What it means to be spiritually mature?”

“What does it take to become mature and

“Hindrances to Spiritual Growth?”

 Now, we have already explored one main reason it's so important for us to grow—that is, growing up is the reason we were planted in the first place—this is the object of the Christian life. This point is made clear in the parable of the vineyard that is shared in the book of Isaiah 5:1-7. God, in the parable, represents the nation of Israel as a vineyard that He has planted, expecting it to bring forth grapes, but instead it brought forth wild grapes (Isaiah 5:2). God expresses disappointment in the fact that He did all He could for the vineyard—in that He 1) built a tower in the midst of it; 2) made a winepress in it; 3) fenced it and 4) gathered out the stones—yet the vineyard brought forth wild grapes. “What could have been done more to my vineyard that I have not done in it”, the Lord exclaims (Isaiah 5:4).

So it is that God is disappointed, when we do not bear the fruit He is expecting us to bear.

Secondly, it is very important for us to grow, because it is a principle of life, that anything that is not growing is either dying or is dead. According to John the Baptist, “…the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire” (Matthew 3:10). Jesus also said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: . . . If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast [them] into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:6).

Therefore, a Christian who fails to grow, faces the prospect of losing out on eternal life.

Finally, we should not only see it as a duty to grow up in Christ, but also a great blessing and privilege. This is the “prize of the high calling of God”, which every Christian should press towards (Philippians 3:14). The fact that God calls us to it means that He has made provision for us to make it. “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:3, 4). It was on this basis that Peter urged the brethren not to settle for medicroty, but to 'add to their faith' and to 'But grow in grace, and [in] the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”(2Pet 3:18 [KJV])

When a Christian is mature, that is when he or she really begins to enjoy the blessing of the Christian life. While growing up, the Christian enjoys many blessings, but he/she is continually encumbered with fear and uncertainty. Though the young Christian accepts God’s promises by faith, they have not yet proven by experience that He loves them and will never fail them. According to the Apostle John, “Herein is our love made perfect (mature), that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:17, 18 margin).

I pray that today, you will accept God's call on your life to grow up in Christ to become a mature man or woman in Him. To press for the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

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