Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Purpose Driven Life -Day 23

Day 23 - How We Grow

"God wants you to grow up."  This is how today's lesson begins. A harsh truth that many fail to grasp. Sadly, many believers remain in the infancy of their spiritual growth. They 'choose' Christ and wrongly think that is all there is to it. My favorite quote in today's lesson from Pastor Rick is: "Sadly, many Christians grow older but never grow up." 

You would not expect an infant learning to crawl to just get up one day and ride off on a bike.  God does not expect new believers to automatically act as those who have been walking with the Lord for decades.  With that said, He does expect continual growth. There is no timetable for when you should reach a particular stage, but know that there is expectation that you will move steadily forward.  

When you get to a point and then just stop. You may as well just jump off of the path and do your own thing because you are doing a disservice to God as well as yourself.

Spiritual growth is a choice. Becoming like Christ is a choice. A choice that is made with intention. To become a disciple of Christ you must first choose, you must do so intentionally, and thirdly, you must commit to your decision.

What you commit to in life is what you worship. Whether it is your job, or the decorating of your home, or your pets, spouse, and yes, even your children. God expects to be put first. He does not want your worship to be shared. You can of course give yourself to your passions - family - friends - hobbies ... but full commitment needs to be to Christ - ahead of all else. 

When you make the decision to live a life as a disciple of Christ, you must change the way you think. You must really ask yourself "What would Jesus do?" before making any actions. When you are reborn, the Holy Spirit works within you - but also with you, in order to help you to develop new habits, new routines and a new way of thinking and decision making.  Like a puzzle, you are given all of the pieces, you just need to work on putting them together to form the picture. This is the same when you are reborn, you are given all of the pieces of your new life - your life with Christ ... and you will spend your life putting the picture fully together. 

'The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel determines the way you act.' Paul said; "There must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes." 

Pastor Rick tells us that the first step is to stop thinking immature thoughts which are self-centered and self-seeking.  The Bible says: "Stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults." 

The second step is to begin thinking maturely, that is to say we must focus on others, not on ourselves. Paul concluded that the mark of maturity is to think of others. "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me."

When we were children, all we knew was 'me' .. 'me' .. 'me'.  This is the extent of knowledge of an infant. They only know and understand and care about their needs. As adults, we need to know better. We need to concern our selves with the needs of our brothers and sisters.  We need to be concerned with humanity. 

Christianity is not a religion or a philosophy, but a relationship and a lifestyle. It is not something you claim. It is something you live. Each day. Every day. Every hour. Not just on Sundays.  The Bible says: "We should think of their good and try to help them by doing what pleases them. Even Christ did not try to please Himself." 

"Let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God - what is good and is pleasing to Him and perfect." - Romans 12:2B (TEV)