How is it going? I hope you are having a great day. Today’s topic is Christian Spiritual Growth. I hope you enjoy it.
In the modern world, there are a million and one different books dedicated to unveiling the secrets of spiritual growth. Every world view (including Atheism surprisingly) has its gurus and teachers, who are willing to share their secrets and strategies for just the small price of a book. Now, because of the complicated nature of many religions, the fact that these people exist is not a surprise. Take Hinduism as an example, especially if you grew up in a western country the concepts of Hinduism can be very hard to understand.
Unlike Hinduism and other religions like it, spiritual growth in Christianity is not complicated. In fact, it’s so simple that your children already know how to do it. Spiritual growth in Christianity is achieved through a relationship with God.
Okay, so let’s talk about what that means. How does a relationship with God help me grow spiritually? Or more specifically, what is the connection between spiritual growth and a relationship with God?
Well, I think that it has a lot to do with the goal of spiritual growth. Let’s wrap our minds around this by contrasting Christianity with a couple of other popular religions. In other religions like Hinduism or Islam, the goal of spiritual growth is to become holy enough to transcend this world. In Islam, that’s being accepted into heaven and in Hinduism, that’s becoming a part of Brahmana. These goals are accomplished through doing certain tasks and following certain rules. However, Christianity is uninterested in tasks and rules. Because of Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross, we do not have to earn heaven. So since becoming holy enough to go to heaven is not a concern, Christian spiritual growth is about creating a people of a certain quality. More specifically, people who have the same quality that Christ has. God isn’t trying to make sure that you don’t lie, he wants to mature you into the kind of person who doesn’t lie; simply because that’s who they are. It isn’t enough for God that we learn to act like Christ, he wants us to become his very image.
“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.”Paul, 2 Corinthians 3:18
Now, In order to become the mirror image of Christ, you have to have the kind of relationship with him which will allow him to instruct you (Like a student mentor or parent child relationship). You see, if I only study Jesus from afar, I won’t become exactly like him, I’ll only become like my perception of him. In order to become like someone, you have to spend time with them.
Fortunately for us, Christ has called us to become his disciples, allowing us to enter into that kind of mentor/ parental relationship with him. Making him not only our king, but, teacher, counselor, and father as well.
So now let’s talk about how to build up that relationship. Every relationship has four key qualities, which help it grow. (I’m sure people can think of more, but I want to focus on these four)
1. Both people have to agree to be in the relationship.
2. They need to get to know each other.
3. They need to respect each other’s position in the relationship.
4. They need to uphold a standard of Agape love.
When I listen to the lives of Christians who are struggling, the one thing that they all have in common is that their relationship with God is missing one of these qualities. Think about it like this, if you’re not really committed to letting God be your Lord and Teacher then you’ll find yourself resisting him more often than not. A lack of respect for the authority of God will cause you to struggle with obedience. If you never get to know him, how can you learn to be like him? And without Agape Love, you will eventually grow to hate him.
If you’re struggling as a Christian, don’t worry, you’re not failing. In fact, you’re succeeding. You see because Christ died on the cross for our sins we don’t have to become holy to enter into his kingdom. He has made us holy. And because we accepted his invitation to enter into his kingdom, he is now our Lord; so we must follow his commands. However, he is fully aware that we’re not perfect, so instead of kicking us out, he teaches us how to become the image of his son. This is a lifelong transformation and can be quite hard at times. So if you find yourself not struggling with it then I would imagine it’s not happening. Be his disciple, listen to him, respect the reality of who he is, and Love him. You will start to leave your old self behind and move forward to,
“participate in the divine nature”.Peter, 2 Peter 1:4
One final thought.
I think that it’s very fitting that spiritual growth in Christianity is based on a relationship. It just fits the personality of God so well. God makes beautiful things by harmoniously weaving together chaotic and confusing things. He fuses simplicity with infinite complexity. Relationships are like this, so simple that children form them without being taught how and yet so complicated that adult’s write advice books about it.
I hope you enjoyed this post, I really enjoyed writing it.
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Have a good one.