“Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” - II Peter 3:18
Years ago a woman was complaining about the heavy burdens and struggles of her life. In frustration she blurted out to a Christian friend…. “I wish I had never been made!” Her friend wisely said, “Connie, you have not been made… God is currently making you through your trials and you’re resisting Him in the process!”
Many people never learn how to handle suffering, setbacks, financial problems, or stress. They don’t know how to stick with a job until it’s finished or how to handle criticism without it destroying them. They don’t know how to carry money without spending it, or handle an injustice without retaliating. It’s possible to grow old without growing up! Maturity is not an automatic thing. Great Christians all have one thing in common. They are committed to spiritual growth! A Christian is either going forward or backward in their spiritual life. There is no neutral.
If you continue to live the way you’re currently living, will you hear the Lord say in the next life “well done thou good and faithful servant?” (Matt 25:21). For this to happen, you will have to resist the pull to be mediocre. The difference between the outstanding, the average, and the stagnant is growth! The fact is, our Creator has wired His creation to be continually making progress. In 60 short years we went from the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk to Neal Armstrong on the moon! Many of us who grew up with stacks of 33 RPM records and 8-track cartridges now enjoy tiny I-pods containing thousands of songs. It’s called ‘progress’ and it’s all part of God’s plan. In the same way, God wants His children to be growing.
First of all we should be growing in our knowledge of God. The Bible says, “Walk worthy of the Lord … increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col 1:10). Secondly we should be growing in love. The Bible says, “But as touching brotherly love …we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more” (I Thess 4:9-10). Are you continually becoming more kind, patient, merciful, gracious and thoughtful? Thirdly we should be growing in our knowledge of Bible truth. The Bible says, “That we be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine … But speaking the truth in love, may grow up” (Eph 4:14-15). Peter adds, “Desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (I Peter 2:2). Fourthly we should be growing in faith! The Bible says, “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, because that your faith groweth exceedingly” (II Thess 1:30).
The Bible reads like “who’s who” with people who grew into spiritual maturity. Peter was once an immature believer who failed in his attempt to walk on water, argued about being the greatest apostle, fell asleep when Jesus needed him to pray, claimed he would never deny the Lord, cut off the servants ear, and quit the ministry to go back to fishing. But after the death and resurrection of Jesus, Peter committed himself to growth and finished strong. No wonder he was able to write the Bible verse stating; “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:18). Paul himself grew from obscurity to the greatest apostle of all because he was committed to growth, (Phil 3:13). Failing to grow is a recipe for disaster. Solomon stopped growing and made a royal mess of his life. The difference between the “haves” and the “have-nots” is growth!
The Bible says, “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon” (Ps 92:12). A Christian should be growing in his faithfulness, his finances, his humility, his selflessness, his service to others, and his trust in God. He should be praying more and getting offended less. He should be becoming more thankful and more patient. He should also be growing in wisdom, holiness, and ambition. He should be better able to deal with adversity today than last year. Simply put, there comes a time to “grow up!” If a Christian is not truly growing, it’s a tip off that they may not have been ever truly born again. Are you growing? Does your life revolve around the Lord and serving others, or are you still absorbed with yourself? Are you heavenly minded or enamored with the trashiness of the world? Spiritually speaking, if you’re not growing you are going backwards.
At Fargo Baptist Church our motto is Ephesians 4:15 which states; “Speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things.” We are committed to helping people not only find God, but to grow afterwards in their relationship with Him. Our emphasis is strongly on the power of the Word of God to change lives, and we preach and teach it as it is to people as they are! It is God’s time-tested and proven message and method. If you want to know God and grow as a Christian, then come and be a part of Fargo Baptist!