30th January 2013

Christians Are To Grow

“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift … for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
Ephesians 4:7, 12-13 (NKJV)

Before we can begin to discuss the basics of Christianity, we need to address an important principle often dismissed by Christians; it is that Christians are to grow.

Some seem to think that we mature as Christians over time, automatically, just as a child grows up. In fact, you can’t stop a child growing up—it’s inevitable. But Christians can stay unchanged for decades. I’m sure, like me, you’ve met many who are exactly the same as they were when you first came to know them. Where scripture tells us: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5), it becomes obvious that we have the control; we can let that mind develop within us, or we can hinder it.

You see, Jesus Christ doesn’t want automatons, or identical little yellow pencils for Christians. He wants you, with your depth of character and strengths, your free will, and—yes, even with your weaknesses. You, combined with the mind of Christ, which will tame your strengths and minimise your weaknesses, and will actually strengthen your free will, will make a unique and formidable combination in his kingdom. Trained over a lifetime, as it were, from a raw human being into a Christian human being, now perfected, grown up to the measure and stature of the fullness of Christ…. Imagine a kingdom of individuals like you, each one different, but each one centred in Christ, each one unmovable and unshakable in their Christian belief, now following Christ in their continuing lives throughout eternity. Wow!

That’s our heritage. That’s what Jesus told us (John 14:2). That’s the promise offered to us along with eternal life (Romans 6:22), to be priests and kings with him (Revelation 1:6).

That being the case, why would we want to resist doing what our Redeemer tells us he wants us to do?  We were bought by him at a price (1 Corinthians 6:20 & 7:23). So why do Christians want to stay as they were when Christ brought them to himself?

As a Christian we study the Bible, particularly the New Testament, not to find out what God wants us not to do—a distinction most Christians seem unaware of—but what he wants us to be. He wants us to be Christ-like. Let this mind be in you, he says—seek to become more and more like this mind. Grow nearer and nearer to how Christ is. Not what Christ does, but what Christ is. If we are like Christ, it follows that we will then do what Christ would do.

And when that becomes our goal, and once we understand and accept whole-heartedly the basics, understanding why God put them into place for us, as Christians, in the first place, we can move on, and we can grow up.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, as little children we have so much to learn. Thank you for your understanding and mercy. Your grace grows with us as we seek to grow nearer in being to your Son, through whose name we pray.
Amen

Study by John Stettaford

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