Welcome again to this week's word for the week. I truly love to see God's people grow more in Him! There is something really special when you see someone grow from one place to another in Christ. It is definitely something none of us should take for granted. At the end of the day we are all still growing in some form or fashion. That's what I'm led to briefly encourage you in this week so let's get straight to the point.
What does it mean to grow in Christ? You can easily get different answers to that question depending on who you ask. Rather than make things complicated let's keep it simple so that nothing gets lost as we move forward. To grow in Christ means to learn more of Him. It's not about what you do. It's about what you allow Him to do in your life. He is the potter and we are the clay. He shapes us into whatever pleases Him. We don't get to pick and choose what we want to become. The truth is that's a good thing as there are times when we simply know not what we ask. In other words, we may be asking for more than what we are ready for.
So, to grow in Christ simply means to learn more of Him. We do that through prayer, study of the word of God, meditating on the word of God, and fellowship with others striving to grow also. We learn to listen to God, to discern what His voice sounds like. to accept what He has for us even if it's opposite of what we want, and through the process of time, trials, and tribulations. My point is there is not one way by itself in how we grow in Christ. We grow through a multitude of things and definitely over a period of time. We are always learning so don't be discouraged about what you may not know today.
Growth in Christ requires change. This change is more than just a small list of things. It will vary from person to person but there are a few things that are common to all of us. We grow daily. We change our habits, ways, thoughts, time spent in prayer, time spent studying the word of God, how we treat others, how we carry ourselves around others, and our appreciation for God. There has to be an appreciation for your salvation before you will realize the need to change. Anyone who approaches their salvation as just another thing in life will find it difficult to move forward in Christ. Plain and simple, you have to appreciate what's been done for you and who He is to you.
I've seen countless Christian material about growth. Twelve steps for this and ten steps for that is not how this works. It is different for all of us in terms of what we need to give up and what changes we need to make. Some have more than others. Some have less things to change but they may be greater in nature. One person may need to simply change the time they pray. Someone else may need to change friends. It can be easy or drastic but the end result is the same if you do it. You will truly see the glory of God in your life and you will never be the same again once you do.
So here's the challenge for all of us. What is it about Christ that just absolutely excites you? What is it that when you think about it there is a change deep within you? When you think about Jesus what makes you smile? When you think about the power of God what makes you trust Him even more? When you're frustrated or feeling low what makes you hold on and be determined to not let go? You have to be ready to give a reason for what keeps you going in Christ. You cannot answer that with others until you have answered that within yourself. Give that some thought.
May the Lord continue to bless and keep you in His grace,
Bishop Carlos J. Lennon