Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Spiritual Growth - The Ultimate Goal

(NLLT) 2 Peter 1:2-12
2 May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.

Growing in Faith
   3 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. 4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
   5 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, 6and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
   8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.
   10 So, dear brothers and sisters,[a] work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. 11 Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Paying Attention to Scripture
12 Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught. 

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Do you know how to grow in your relationship with our Lord? When I received Christ I was already an adult. I did not know how to follow the music minister leading the songs – this is when we actually used hymnals. I knew people gave to the church but I didn’t know why. All I knew was of this saving grace that came upon me and I stumbled along for quite a time afterwards trying to figure out how to grow in my relationship with Christ. Since then I have gone through cycles of growth, of stagnation, and then growth again and I realized that it is my ultimate responsibility to take action to learn and to grow in the Lord. What we have already received should feed our desire to know more! Those who will make any progress in their relationship must be industrious in their effort. Why put forth the effort? If you do not you will be aware of this world but unaware of the one to come! Those that are growing in grace and abounding in the work of the Lord shall have an abundant entrance into the joy of their Lord and they shall reign with him forever.
(MSG) 2 Peter 1:3
Grow in grace and understanding of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ. Glory to the Master, now and forever! Yes!

(MSG) 2 Peter 1:5-7
So don't lose a minute in building on what you've been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can't see what's right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.

(NAS) 2 Peter 3:18
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

1. We are responsible for renewing our mind
            (MSG) Romans 12:1-2
So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going- to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
               
(NLT) 1 Cor 2:16
For, “Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?”  But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.
2. We must be ready to admit our failures and assume responsibility for them
(MSG) 1 John 1:8-10
If we claim that we're free of sin, we're only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won't let us down; he'll be true to himself. He'll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. If we claim that we've never sinned, we out-and-out contradicts God—make a liar out of him. A claim like that only shows off our ignorance of God.

3. After step 2 comes repentance
(MSG) Acts 26:19-20
"What could I do, King Agrippa? I couldn't just walk away from a vision like that! I became an obedient believer on the spot. I started preaching this life-change—this radical turn to God and everything it meant in everyday life—right there in Damascus, went on to Jerusalem and the surrounding countryside, and from there to the whole world. 
            (MSG) Galatians 5:22-23
But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

This is my challenge to you:
I challenge you to cooperate with God by developing yourself and by being diligent. I challenge you to put your mind on what you already know to prevent you from forgetting. I challenge you to improve your knowledge and reduce this to a daily practice. I challenge you to be established in beliefs of the truth, that you may not be shaken by every wind of doctrine. I challenge you to lead, exhort and present the truth as it is and to be bold while doing so.  I challenge you to remember that your body is a tabernacle of the soul and that your time in this tabernacle is short. I challenge you not to give up but remember that this is a process much like a seed – the seed is planted and although it is entirely present, it is very small and as it grows, it becomes large and helpful. I challenge you to remember that God has planted within us all we need, but these resources require time and growth before they become visible to others. 

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