Pages

Friday, June 26, 2009

Growing Up into Christ

Introduction

The six steps that lead up to this one are the complete process of being born again:

1) Realizing God’s love for me,

2) Thinking about my need for Him—realizing my own unworthiness and dependability on Him,

3) Repenting—being sorry for my sins and willing to turn away from them,

4) Confessing specific sins,

5) Consecrating myself 100% to God,

6) Having faith—living by every word of God.

The seventh step is a test. Am I really born again? Are my thoughts, feelings, motives, and actions in accordance with God’s?

The next step

The eighth step keeps this process alive in my heart. If plants don’t grow, they die. And it’s the same with us as Christians! After we experience being born again, we must continue to grow, or our spiritual life will fade.

~ 2 Peter 3:18 – “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”

Life

What do we need in order to grow? Plants can’t do the work of growing by their own effort—and no more can we, except by gaining life from God. We are dependent on Him, to grow.

Plants and flowers don’t grow by their own effort, but by receiving those things that are vital to life. And even young children can’t add to their height by trying! Just like those examples, we cannot grow by anything we do on our own.

~ John 15:4, 5 – “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

~ Luke 12:27 – “Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

~ John 6:33 – “For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.”

~ Matthew 6:27 – Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

The little plants “behold” the sun, which is very necessary for them to grow. Just like that, we need to behold the Sun of Righteousness—Jesus.

~ 2 Corinthians 3:18 – “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Jesus teaches this same principle when He says, “Abide in Me, and I in you.”

~ John 15:4

We can not grow on our own, no matter how hard we try. It is only by abiding in Christ that we will grow.

Abiding in Christ

What does it mean to “abide in Christ”? Simply put, to abide means “to remain, to continue.” When we abide with Christ, we stay with Him. We are completely His.

So now we know what abiding in Christ is, but how do we do this?

~ “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.” Colossians 2:6

This verse tells us that we are to receive Christ as we did at the beginning. That first time you let Christ take complete control of your heart—don’t forget it. Re-give yourself to God every day. Let Him have control over your plans for each day. Continue to keep this connection, and you will grow.

Live by whatever Christ says in His Word.

~ “Now the just shall live by faith.” Hebrews 10:38

Rest

What will life be like when you are fully abiding in Christ and relying on Him?

~ Matthew 11:28, 29 – “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

God promises that we will have rest—and peace!—when we rely on Him. The reason? Your hope is not in yourself—you know you can’t do it on your own—but you know that Christ can accomplish what you need in your life. You are under His loving control. Even the words “abide in Christ” convey rest and peacefulness. A couple more verses:

~ Psalm 37:7 – “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him.”

~ Isaiah 30:15 – “For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.”

Think often about what Christ did for you. Think about the way He lived His life—in holiness, selflessness, purity. It is by copying His way of life and depending on Him entirely that you will be transformed into His image.

Watch!

We should not allow our self to become the center of our lives. Satan works hard to try and keep our eyes off of Christ. He uses many things to try and distract us: the world’s pleasures, the perplexities and burdens of life, the faults of others, and even your own faults and imperfections. But we must commit our souls to God, and trust that He will keep us safe as we are growing in Him.

~ Galatians 2:20 – “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

With Jesus

The early disciples had this experience of growing up into Christ—while He was with them here on Earth! In beholding Christ, they grew so close to Him that people saw Him in them.

~ Acts 4:13 “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”

Here’s the thing—they were humans, just like us! They had the same problems we do, the same character defects. We have no excuse: Just like these men did, we can grow close to Christ. He works in our hearts, and by loving Him and abiding in Him, we will become changed, and grow up into Him.

~ Ephesians 4:15 – “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”

Conclusion

All that Christ was to His disciples, He wants to be to us today. A very encouraging thought is that He Himself prayed for US! When praying for His disciples, He mentioned us who are living today.

~ John 17:20 – “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.”

Christ gives us hope that we can grow more and more like Him every day! Let’s take advantage of the many opportunities He gives us, and the ways He works with us.

~ Philippians 2:13“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

By loving Christ and abiding in Him, we will grow in Him.

No comments:

Post a Comment