How We Grow?
Promise. Believe. Power. In short, that’s how you grow as a follower of Christ.
Imagine the scenario. Suppose a dad tells his two-year old son, “Get up and get dressed and I’ll take you to your favorite restaurant.” The promise by the dad impacts what the son does, if the son believes and desires what his dad is offering. The son gets dressed in faith the dad will take him to his restaurant of choice. So, faith in the promise is essential. But then, there’s the dad following through. He’s doing the heavy lifting. He’s the one helping his son put on his t-shirt and pants. He’s the one driving his son to their destination. He’s the one paying for the meal. The son has a part and the dad has a part.
How does this relate to growing as a Christian? Paul tells us that the way godliness is cultivated in our lives is two-fold 1) we believe in God’s promises, 2) God’s power works in accordance with our faith so that we can obey what God has commanded. In the illustration above, the son believes his dad’s promise enough to get dressed, and the dad provides all the power to not only obey (i.e. puts on the clothes) but also to see the promise through (drives, pays, etc.). In other words, God gives us the power to live obediently in the present as we believe and trust God in the his promises.
Let’s look to Philippians 2:9-13 to see this:
9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Paul points out that Jesus humbled himself to the point of dying a criminal’s death on the cross. And as a result, God exalted Jesus because of his obedience. The promise we take from this is that we too will be exalted if we humble ourselves like Jesus.
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling…
Now, we have a command to obey. In light of this promise, we must work out our salvation.
13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Yet in our working, God is the one doing the heavy lifting. He is the one supplying the power to obey the command as we look to what’s promised.
So, how do we make strides in godliness? When we take to heart what God has said and act in sync with those beliefs. That’s how we are transformed more and more into Christ’s image; the power of God is at work within us as we trust in the promises of God.
So when you fight for purity and patience and contentment when sexual lust starts to crouch at the door of your heart or that feeling of envy initially hits you or that reflex of impatience springs up, you will need to have specific, concrete promises that come to mind in that moment. And if you’re having trouble knowing what those promises are, God has spoken in the Bible. Go there today to find what you need.