What To Know In Order To Grow Ps. 139: 23-24 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Some Christians are stunted in their lives. They want to grow but they don’t seem to be growing. Thus, they are frustrated because it doesn’t seem possible that they will ever grow up. They feel stuck in the same old sins and they live on a merry-go-round. It’s like one of their feet is nailed to the ground and they can’t get loose. So, round and round they go.
This lesson will help you to see some things you might have overlooked that are preventing you from growing. These are some things that you must know in order to grow.
You must know the sin in your life – Ps 139:23-24 – sin will keep you from growing. It’s like a disease in a plant or a tree. The Bible is very clear on what is called sin. But you must recognize these sins in your own life and call them what they are. So you ask God to search you and when he shows you then you know that “I am a(n) ___________. What are you? Are you an adulterer? A fornicator? An abuser of yourself with mankind? An effeminate? A pervert? A liar? A thief? A blasphemer? A glutton? Stubborn? Rebellious? Resentful? Bitter? Envious? Proud? Whatever you are or whatever combination of sins you are, you need to face up to it (them) and confess it (them) before God. This is not confession of something you did that you hope to never do again. This is a confession of who you are that resulted in you doing what you did. You’re trying to change, right? Then you need to know what you are.
You must know your thoughts and intentions – Heb 4:12-13 – it’s not enough to know what kind of sinner you are, but you must also know your thoughts and intentions. The Bible reveals your thoughts and intentions to you. These are underlying roots that are connected to the sins in your life. They feed the sins and contribute to them being repeated in your life. These are things like your expectations, your desires, your lusts, your motives, your ways, your ambitions, your hypocrisies, and so forth. A young man or a young lady growing up at home may look like a saint. But if you could see what his/her intentions and thoughts are, you might be shocked. Often, you are shocked when you see a child suddenly make a turn to sin in his/her teen years. Know this, these things have been their thoughts and intentions for a long time.
You must know the strengths and weaknesses of your character – this comes from a thorough examination of the characters in the Bible. Are you are Mary or a Martha? Are you a Peter or a Paul? Are you a David or a Rehoboam? Are you a leader? A follower? Are you a men-pleaser? Are you fearful? Are you afraid of men? Are you a quitter? Tenacious? Self-willed? Apathetic? Moody? Adaptable? Contentious? These things also contribute to the sins in your life and to your spiritual growth or the lack thereof. You must be honest with God, yourself and those who know you well about these things. You will do no good to pretend that you aren’t what you are.
You must know God’s work in your life – Phil 2:12-13; 3:10 – now we’re getting to the real crux of the matter. You must know God and his dealings with you. You must know his truth, his mercy, his forbearance, his long-suffering, his voice, his ways, his thoughts, his attitudes, his desires, his chastening (not your conscience or your guilt and shame), his righteousness, his power, his gentleness, his provision, his wisdom (as opposed to the earthly, sensual, devilish wisdom), his goodness (that he’s good all the time, even when your circumstances aren’t). You also need to recognize what’s not God but is a counterfeit of God.
You must know your place of balance – Prov 11:1 – this is your “zero” spiritually and naturally. If you neglect some natural things in your life like proper nutrition, proper rest, proper exercise, proper emotions, and so forth, you could noticeably effect some spiritual aspects of your life. Conversely, when you neglect your spiritual life (prayer, Bible, gratitude, praise, spiritual gifts, spiritual fruit, sound doctrine, etc.) you can seriously effect your natural life. Either way you will throw yourself out of balance and set yourself up for failure. These things can seriously affect your growth as a Christian because you may address spiritual problems naturally or natural problems spiritually when you are out of balance. For instance, a person may think he needs more rest and so he pursues recreation and more sleep. In fact, he needs the rest but, in his case, he needs to get closer to Jesus to get the right rest [Matt 11:28-30].
You must know your growth and change – 2 Pet 3:18 – your spiritual growth is going to be slow and the changes in your life are going to be very gradual. Learn to recognize the work of the grace of God in your life [1 Cor 15:9-10] so that you can appreciate what God is doing. Don’t get frustrated because you aren’t growing as fast as you think you should. It is better to grow slowly, steadily and regularly than it is to spurt up like a weed and die out. Be satisfied to grow at God’s pace and in God’s time. He knows what he’s doing.
Conclusion: it takes all of these things to grow properly in Christ. So, be content to get the sin out of your life, to accept who you are in Christ, to let God work in your life, to get balanced and to grow and change as a result of what God is doing in your life rather than what you want people to believe he is doing.