How to Grow as a Christian – Part 2

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At birth

“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” -1 Peter 2:2-3 (NIV)

My son Joseph, now 4 ½ months old, is growing every day. Of course, we can’t actually see the growing when the growing is happening. It’s imperceptible to the human eye. What we can see is that he has gained over 10 pounds since birth.

This miracle of life amazes me. Our little guy started as a tiny seed in his mother’s womb that formed into cells and blood vessels and tissue and bones and organs and skin and into the beautiful boy we are so proud of today. His growth offers a great analogy for our growth in Christ.

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At 4.5 months

How did Joseph’s growth happen? It happened because he is constantly attached to Leslie’s breast, eating. He loves to eat. He craves the milk of momma. Likewise, if we will stay constantly attached to the Lord, we will grow.

I don’t expect Joseph to grow a foot a day or even an inch each day. I’m simply happy that he is growing a little bit every day and that he’s healthy. I’m happy when he gets a little stronger every day. Every day we can see his progress and we rejoice in it.

Likewise, God doesn’t expect us to grow by leaps and bounds every day. He simply rejoices when we grow a little bit, little by little, and get stronger and stronger in Him.

If we will stay constantly attached to the Lord, we will grow.

The fact that growth occurs is not a mystery, but, if we’re not careful, we can become discouraged because growth is often imperceptible to us. We can, in fact, be growing even when we feel like we are digressing rather than moving forward. When we abide in Christ, we may not feel like we are growing, but we are. We only stop growing when we do not submit ourselves to the process of growth.

The process of growth requires a commitment. Consistency is key to growth.

The best growth takes place when we make a daily commitment. If we stay in the Word and in God’s presence on a daily basis, we will see growth in our lives. If we will remain consistent, we will grow, even if we go through seasons where it feels like we are not growing.

As we walk with Jesus, we will be able to look back and see the growth that has taken place. And certainly those close to us will see that we have grown.

“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” -1 Peter 2:2-3 (NIV)

We don’t have to remind Joseph to nurse. He craves his mother’s milk. It is, in fact, his source of life right now. Our problem is that we have to push ourselves to grow. Our flesh does not want to submit to the growth process.

God is our very source of life. We need to realize that we need God more than Joseph needs his mother’s milk. The problem is this: we grow accustomed to living apart from Him. Life apart from Him is actually a life lived in darkness. We can walk separated from our Creator and think we are doing okay when we are not!

So what are some practical things we can do to grow in the Lord? My encouragement is to establish some daily disciplines in your life regarding prayer and the Word and then intentionally live out your walk with the Lord in your every day life. I suggest the following:

  1. Have a daily place of prayer – be honest with God, love Him, worship Him, praise Him, seek Him with all your heart.
  2. Read, study and meditate on God’s Word – speak and declare God’s word over your life when you’re praying, when you’re driving, by your bed at night, or while you’re doing the dishes, or whenever.
  3. Make daily decisions that honor God.

Growth does take work. It may require that you rearrange some priorities in your life. It can be challenging to organize your days to prioritize your time with God. But it is a sacrifice that is worth it that will reward you now, in every area of your life, and into eternity.

Be Still

ThHead on Cheste moments when I feel closest to my son is when he is still on my chest. I think this may be his favorite place to sleep. When he was first born, he liked to be cradled in my arms, but now he likes to be upright with his head on my chest. There is a sense of closeness with him that I feel in these moments, when he is still. Perhaps the Father longs for the same with us?

I am reminded of the scene in the Bible where the disciple John leans his head on Jesus’ breast (John 13:25). To me, this is the most precious moment of intimacy in the Bible. A man laid his head on the breast of God incarnate. John was “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 21:20). Perhaps it was not that Jesus loved John more, but perhaps it was simply because John chose to draw closer to Jesus. In fact, he drew nearest to Jesus in Jesus’ suffering on the cross.

God loves everyone, but He is not close with everyone. We can be as close to Him as we want to be. James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Or, “Come close to God, and God will come close to you” (NLT).

When my son is fussy, I still love him. When he cries, I still love him. No matter what he does, I am still going to love him and provide for him. But, when he is still, I feel closest to him. It makes my heart feel good as he rests in my arms. I wonder if God feels closest to me when I am still?

Certainly, we can cry, we can fuss, we can complain at times. But how much better is it if we would just simply trust?

Psalm 46:10 says,
“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
​​I will be exalted in the earth!”

The waters may roar and be troubled and the mountains may shake (v. 3), but “There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God” (v. 4). The nations may rage, but the Lord is our refuge (v. 6, 11). There is a place in God where, no matter what is going on around us, we can be still. Be still and know that He is God. He is taking care of everything.

Isaiah 30:15 says, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…” (NIV).

The truth is, everything we need is found in God. His provision is all-sufficient. Right now, everything my son needs he finds in my wife and I (mostly my wife, because she feeds him). Likewise, when we crawl in Father’s lap, lay our heads on His chest, we can rest in His all-sufficient provision. He will not fail us.

We can cry, fuss, complain, get upset, or have a bad attitude. God is merciful. He still loves us. But how much better is it to simply learn to be still and trust? Take your eyes off your circumstances, look to Him, praise Him and trust Him.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says,
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.”

When we lean on our own understanding, we become self-focused, anxious and fearful. When we lean on Him, we find peace, joy, rest, and healing. If we will take time every day to simply sit with Him, I believe that it not only blesses His heart, but in this place of stillness we also find the freedom and healing that we need.