God wants us to grow up. Our Heavenly Father’s goal is for us to mature and develop the characteristics of Jesus Christ. Sadly, millions of Christians grow older but never grow up. They are stuck in perpetual spiritual infancy, remaining in diapers and booties and on milk. The reason is that they never intended to grow.
Spiritual growth is not automatic. It takes an intentional commitment. You must want to grow, decide to grow, make an effort to grow, and persist in growing. Discipleship- the process of becoming like Christ- always begins with a decision. Jesus calls us, and we respond: “Come, be my disciple, ” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed Him”. -Matthew 9:9 When the first disciples chose to follow Jesus, they didn’t understand all the implications of their decision. They simply responded to Jesus invitation. That’s all you need to get started: Decide to become a disciple.
Nothing shapes your life more than the commitments you choose to make. Your commitments can develop you or they can destroy you, but either way, they will define you. Tell me what you are committed to, and I’ll tell you what you will be in twenty years. We become whatever we are committed to. It is at this point of commitment that most people miss God’s purpose for their lives. Many are afraid to commit to anything and just drift through life. Others make half-hearted commitments to competing values, which leads to frustration and mediocrity.
Others make a full commitment to worldly goals, such as becoming wealthy or famous, and end up disappointed and bitter. Every choice has eternal consequences, so you had better choose wisely. Peter warns, “Since everything around us is going to melt away, what holy, godly lives you should be living”. 2 Peter 3:11 God’s part and your part. Christlikeness is the result of making Christlike choices and depending on His Spirit to help you fulfill those choices. Once you decide to get serious about becoming like Christ, you must begin to act in new ways.
You will need to let go of some old routines, develop some new habits, and intentionally change the way you think. You can be certain that the Holy Spirit will help you with these changes. The Bible says, “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His purpose.”-Philippians 2:12 This verse shows the two parts of spiritual growth: “work out” and “work in”. The “work out” is your responsibility and the “work in” is God’s role. Spiritual growth is a collaborative effort between you and the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit works with us, not just in us.
To change your life, you must change the way you think. Behind everything you do is a thought. Every behavior is motivated by a belief, and every action is prompted by an attitude. God revealed this thousands of years before psychologists understood it. To be like Christ you must develop the mind of Christ. The New Testament calls this mental shift repentance, which in Greek literally means, “to change your mind”. You repent whenever you change the way you think by adopting how God thinks- about yourself, sin, God, other people, life, your future, and everything else. You take on Christ outlook and perspective.
We are commanded to “think the same way that Christ Jesus thought”. We have 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.” – 1 Corinthians 14:20 Babies by nature are completely selfish. They think only of themselves and their own needs. They are incapable of giving; they can only receive. This is immature thinking. Unfortunately, many people never grow beyond that kind of thinking. The Bible says, “Those who live following their sinful selves think only about things that their sinful selves want”- Romans 8:5
Today many assume that spiritual maturity is measured by the amount of biblical information and doctrine you know. While knowledge is one measurement of maturity, it isn’t the whole story. The Christian life is far more than creeds, and our beliefs must be backed up with Christlike behavior. God Bless!!