“ In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins. So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away.” – 2 Peter 1:5-10
God wants us to grow. God wants us to be more like Him. Ephesians 4: 13 says, “This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.”
We want to grow. We want to mature. We want to be like Christ. But spiritual maturity is not automatic. There is no shortcut to spiritual growth. There’s no instant pill that the church or your small group could give you to take today and tomorrow you’re going to be spiritually mature. It takes time. It takes an intentional pursuit. It won’t come automatically or quickly.
That doesn’t stop us from looking for shortcuts. We look for that “aha moment” or some emotional experience. We just need that certain experience, or read that book, or listen to that podcast. Or maybe if I can keep that set of rules, then I will be more Christlike.
No such luck. Spiritual growth is a continual process. It is a series of proactive steps. Action is always an integral part of spiritual growth. Spiritual growth does not “just happen” to us, it requires a great deal of blood, sweat and tears. Growing as a disciple of Jesus requires hard work and intentionality. It does not happen by accident. It is the result of deliberately organizing your schedule, your habits, and your attention toward the things of God.
1 Timothy 4:7-10 says: ”Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it.This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.”
Is physical fitness automatic? No. Neither is spiritual fitness. It takes time and trouble. Just like to be physically fit you’ve got to exercise and develop some basic habits, to spiritually grow we need to develop some good habits.
- Do you believe you are making the effort to grow spiritually?
- Are you willing to spend time every day pursuing God through spiritual disciplines such as prayer, Bible reading, or self-examination?
- Do you believe that authentic, long-term relationships with other Christians are not merely helpful, but essential to your spiritual well-being?
- Do you have a sense of urgency about knowing God and becoming like him?