Time to Grow
2 Chronicles 15:1,2; James 2:14-19
By Kris Robinson
“The Spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded…”Listen to me, “The Lord is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.” (2 Chronicles 15:1, 2)
Last week (3:10 Motto) I talked about Pastor Dan Willis’ sermon on Conversion and how it related to my life. I also mentioned Victoria Labalme’s idea of having a ‘Throughline’ and connecting it to the ‘why’ behind what you do. Lastly, my throughline is; Phil 3:10, “I want to know Christ!”
Now what? Well, what about the How? How does a person know/seek/grow in Christ?
If you want to know someone, then you ‘seek’ them, right? You don’t have to think any further than how you got to know your significant other or your closest relationship; you pursued, you studied, you knew their dislikes and likes and did the things you had to do in order to develop the relationship.
So, to help give perspective on how this works in our spiritual relationship with the Trinity, I found an article written by Rev. Kimberly Gladden (director of discipleship for CMAD (Church Multiplication and Discipleship) for The Wesleyan Church) where she asks the question; “I want to grow in Christ? Now what?”
NOTE: This is not a formulaic way of instantly getting to know Christ! Think of this as a toolbox to apply to your life to initiate your seeking, or fix your current seeking of Christ.
- Daily Devotions & Prayer
This one is essential for me! However, I am a MORNING person. I set aside time first thing in the morning to read Scripture and a devotional thought (Currrently: Seek God for the City) followed by prayer. This helps my mind and heart be ready for whatever the day holds. Now, you could try to do devotions at night, but that typically doesn’t work as well; too many blunders during the day, you may forget what you read the morning after, or you get too focused on the day ahead where God has no room for you to be as effective?
I’ve read about this in high-performing entrepreneurs lives like Michael Hyatt & Rory Vaden.
- Small Groups
Rev. Gladden says, “Being part of a caring community of people who are all interested in growing can bring life-transforming results. In the loving security of a small group, I’ve seen people work through many issues, and there is the comfort of not having to do life alone; friendships can be formed that are deeper than a casual “Good to see you this morning” flung out on the way into or out of the worship service.”
A healthy small group is there for you in all life’s moments!
- Take a Class
Most churches have ‘growth’ classes in either a Sunday school, Bible study, or special series format. Classes are a wonderful way to learn in community. You might consider also the Center for Congregations, if you want to delve deeper; they offer advanced learning opportunities and webinars.
A lifelong learner in faith matters!
- Mission Trips
“Challenge your life, discover a new culture and new things about yourself.” As a former missions pastor, Rev. Gladden can’t tell you the number of times she’s seen people come home from a mission trip changed. “What better way to learn about the value of being content than to sit with a man in Zambia living with AIDS who has only two shirts to his name? When we prayed with him to receive Christ, and later asked what would make his life better, he only wanted a blanket to keep him warm at night. It’s a joy to be a blessing, and God uses such experiences also to humble and teach us many things.”
- Mentoring Relationship
Seek out a relationship with someone that you also admire spiritually. Jim Rohn says, “you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” Find out the lessons they’ve learned along the way. Set regular times to meet, pray, and encourage each other, and also ask questions you only feel safe asking a friend.
- Being Intentional
“The key is your relationship with Jesus Christ. Progress comes by being intentional. Pray for the help of the Holy Spirit. Remember the adage: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step?”
The first step could be no more than unplugging from social media, daily responsibilities, and a to-do list. This allows the inner you to breathe, regroup, and focus on spiritual matters. In their book, the CEO next door, the authors talk about how decision-making is only half of the equation; a decision is only as effective as the action that follows!
- Social Holiness
Serve people in need; being Jesus’ hands and feet in ministry helps you grow spiritually. Service discipleship breathes life into individuals and through individuals into the church. Pray for God to give you eyes to see and a heart to serve.
Unfortunately, the same work that goes into the initial part of a relationship, doesn’t continue. If we put the same work that we did in order to ‘seek’ our relationships, over the entire span, could you imagine how great our relationships would be? The same goes for Christianity; and The Holy Spirit knowing this, has the prophet say, if you forsake HIM, He will forsake YOU!
In other words if you completely disregard/abandon/quit/ditch what Christ has done for you, why should He…? We’ve got a responsibility; James says, “that faith by itself, not accompanied by action, IS DEAD!” (Jas. 2:17; not salvation by works; but once saved, your life reflects your salvation, see also Matt. 7:15-23). It’s scary when statistics show that only 1% of upcoming, new believers are considered active!
So, what’ll be, will you take a step forward to seeking Him? Or, is salvation a retirement package for which you think you’ve already arrived?
Kris Robinson is an Assistant Pastor at Free Life Community Church helping teenagers & Millennials connect & transform their spiritual journey through Christ Jesus.