Growing In The Lord
Duane Vander Klok
Whether you’ve been a Christian for 2 weeks or 20 years, you should be growing in your relationship with God. But spiritual growth is not automatic – you must choose to change if you want to grow.
When people first accept the Lord and catch a glimpse of what He says they can be, they are usually eager to change whatever needs to be changed. But as time passes, the process of growth can seem harder or the goal so distant that many are tempted to give up on the process. The result is that many people never experience the level of spiritual maturity and victory God wants them to have.
It has been said that change is the evidence of growth. While that may not be a very scientific definition, spiritually speaking, it is accurate. Put simply: if you are not changing, you’re not growing.
When it comes to spiritual growth, the secret to your success – or the lack of it – is hidden in your daily routine. While what you do once in awhile can make a small difference, what you do every day literally can change the direction of your entire life. If you want to grow, you are going to have to take a look at what you do every day.
This brief article is going to give you an important key – a very important element that needs to be at the heart of your daily routine – so that you can have greater success in your spiritual growth.
Renew Your Mind
To change anything in your life, you must first change the way you think about it. Everything you do – every action, every behavior – is motivated by what you spend time thinking about. Your thoughts affect your feelings, and your feelings affect what you do.
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (NKJV)
The word “transformed” used here comes from a Greek word having to do with metamorphosis. You can change – like a caterpillar becomes a butterfly – when you renew your mind with the Word of God.
Hebrews 4:12 tells us that God’s Word is alive and powerful. It has God’s life in it, and when we plant it in our hearts and leave it there, it releases life. Just like a plant and fruit are the natural by-products of a physical seed, spiritual growth (i.e. change) is the by-product of having God’s Word alive in our hearts.
Some people miss this simple truth because they are looking for a big, one-time encounter with God that will instantly and effortlessly transform their lives. They don’t really want to change; they just want to feel better now. Others are willing to spend hours praying for a miracle, but they won’t spend fifteen minutes planting the seed of God’s Word in their hearts.
Prayer is as important as water and fertilizer, but remember this: you can water and fertilize all you want, but if there is no seed in the soil, you’ll never get any fruit! Likewise, prayer isn’t a substitute for getting God’s Word into your heart. Both are necessary, but the life is in the Word.
Abide in the Word
In John 15:7-8 Jesus said, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” (NKJV) If we want to be effective Christians, we must abide in
Him and let God’s Words abide in us. How is this done?
God’s Word abides in you when you read it, meditate on it, pray it, and live it. Just like it takes time for a seed to germinate, it takes time for the Word to produce its fruit in us. You would never plant a seed and then dig it right back up again so don’t fall into the trap of reading the Bible one day a week and ignoring it the other six days.
Spiritual growth comes when you consistently let God’s Words fill your mind so they
can shape your thoughts and actions throughout the entire week. Don’t be a casual reader of the Bible. Read it and then think about what you’ve read, pray scriptural prayers – prayers that are based on what God says in the Bible – and keep looking for ways to apply His Word to your day to day situations.
What you look at the longest will make you the strongest. If you fill your mind with ungodly television programs or reading material, what do you think that will produce? If your problems are in the forefront of your thoughts, what good will that do? But, If you make God’s thoughts your thoughts, you will abide in Him and when a need arises, the life- giving Word of God will work for you!
Stability from the Word
Have you ever noticed how some people believe one thing one day and something different the next? They are unstable in all their ways just like the man talked about in James 1:7-8, and they are plagued with the inability to receive what they need from God.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Any Christian can grow and become stable by integrating God’s Word into their heart and mind. Romans 10:17 says, “…faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (NKJV) Don’t settle for double minded-ness when faith and stability can be yours!
Ephesians 4:15 says we should “grow up in all things into Him who is the Head – Christ.” (NKJV) Be encouraged to know that God wouldn’t tell you to grow up without providing a way for you to do it. That way is through renewing your mind and letting God’s Word abide in you.
If godly change is the fruit you are longing for, make a fresh and new commitment to put God’s Word first and foremost in your life…each and every day. It’s time to grow up!
“Let your roots grow down into Him and draw up nourishment from Him. See that you go on growing in the Lord and become strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught…” (Colossians 2:7 TLB)