GrowingBigInGod

Teaching, Helping and Encouraging Spiritual Growth

Principles of Spiritual Growth 2

Hello, again! Have you ever wondered how does God work in this world? How does God communicate and interact with people? What part do Christians play in God’s plan to touch the lost in this world? What does God do? What are we supposed to do? How does this work? I hope you find this session helpful! God bless you are you study this session. 

John 4:24 AMPL God is a Spirit (a spiritual Being) and those who worship Him must worship Him is spirit and in truth (reality).

God is a spiritual Being. He has no physical body. God’s plan to communicate with mankind was to send Jesus into this world to be born into a human family. Jesus’ human body made it possible for God to interact with man in tangible ways. God used the physical presence of Jesus to reveal Himself to all people. Jesus was the divine presence of God in human form.

Colossians 1:15 NLT Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.

God’s intention is for His children fill the same role that Jesus did in being God’s physical presence in this world. They are to stand-in for Jesus and do the things He did while here on earth.

How does this work? What does God do? What are you supposed to do? We can learn a lot about how God works from the process of salvation. What is the process of salvation?

Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV For by GRACE you have been saved through FAITH, and that (salvation) is not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.

From this verse we learn that grace and faith are essential parts in the process of salvation. It is God who initiates the process of salvation. It is God who draws you to Himself and helps you come to Him by His divine influence. This divine influence is called grace. Grace is God’s conviction, urging, drawing, wooing and encouragement. Grace comes from God. This is supported and confirmed in 2 Corinthians 6:1 where God tells you that, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.”

Your salvation came to you by grace (God’s influence) through faith (your belief; your acceptance). God influences you by His grace and you act on those influences of grace by faith. This is the method God created to achieve His plans and purposes in this world.

Faith responds to God’s grace. Faith puts God’s grace into action. Faith completes God’s grace. So, God’s plan for salvation includes both grace and faith. This combination of God’s grace and your faith is what accomplishes His will in you and His will in this world.

Grace + Faith = God’s Will.

By faith you become an active participant in God’s plan to transform you into the new person God wants that is fully equipped to do His will consistently and effectively and to become productive fruit producers. What is God’s plan to change you? What is God’s plan to develop you into the image of Jesus?

2 Peter 1:5 NIV For this very reason, make every effort to add to your (initial saving) faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.

God says that there are some things that you must “make every effort” to add to your faith in order to be transformed into a new person in the image of Jesus. What are these things? Goodness, Knowledge, Self-Control, Perseverance, Godliness, Brotherly Kindness, and Love.

These are all the elements of the Christian walk. There is nothing more.
These are the qualities that completely change you.
These are the qualities that create an explosion of spiritual growth in you.
These are the qualities that bring your faith to complete maturity.
These are the qualities that make you into an effective, reliable, trustworthy fruit producing disciple of Jesus.
These are the qualities that make you like Jesus.

The first thing you are to add to your faith is Goodness.

WHAT IS GOODNESS?

The word goodness has a specific meaning. Goodness means, “a commitment to reflect the goodness of Jesus and His moral excellence in your life, courage, and fulfilment.”

What is the essence of goodness? It is a commitment to live out the goodness of Jesus in your life. This is the first step in your transformation. The first thing you are to do to be transformed into the image of Jesus is to be committed to be like Jesus in every way possible. Your transformation from being your old self to being transformed into the image of Jesus begins with your commitment to make every effort to be like Him and to live out His goodness and moral excellence. When you do this change can be seen in you right away.

There was a man in my church who attended my classes on spiritual growth. After several weeks his wife came to me and told me that he was really changing and thanked me for the classes. Then she told me that her two daughters had come to her and asked her, “What’s wrong with dad? He’s different! We like it!”

What happened to this man? When this husband and father began to consciously make an effort to live like Jesus his family noticed. I am sure others he knew noticed as well. This is the first step in becoming like Jesus. It begins with a commitment to consciously make an effort to be like Him. As you consciously make the effort to be like Jesus, you begin to look more like Jesus than your old self. Consciously making the effort to be like Jesus and live out His goodness sets you on the path for more and more change in you.

However, as you strive to be like Jesus there will be problems. Some people are put off by the person you are becoming. Some people don’t like the new you. Some people feel guilty when you are around and they avoid you. Some might make fun of you or ridicule you or try to embarrass you because of your faith. Some may go out of their way to hurt or harm you. It is not always easy to live for Jesus and live like Him.

Jesus said that “darkness hates light.” Jesus also said that “if they hated Him, they will hate you.” Opposition to being like Jesus is to be expected. God knows this, and promises the strength to continue to live for Jesus by giving you courage. “Courage” is part of the definition of the word “goodness.” As you strive to be like Jesus, the Holy Spirit supplies the divine influence and  power (grace) you need to be courageous in living out the goodness of Jesus in the face of whatever challenge you might be facing. When you add goodness to your faith, God places in you the boldness, determination and strength to present the gospel message with courage.

Another part of the definition of the word “goodness” is the “fulfillment of anything.” The culture today calls this “finding yourself.” Seeking fulfilment, peace and contentment are a continual human quest. Go to any bookstore. There are entire sections dedicated “finding yourself.”

What is the secret to finding true fulfillment in your life? It comes as you make up your mind to live as much as possible like Jesus. The definition of the word “goodness” also means to be fulfilled. For example, the fulfilment of a horse is to run; the fulfilment of a knife is to cut. The fulfilment of a man is to be like Jesus. When you add your commitment to live like Jesus to your initial faith, your life purpose is fulfilled. You become content as you live out the goodness and excellence of Jesus. In adding goodness to your faith your life purpose is fulfilled and you learn what it really means to be contented.

There are other facets to what GOODNESS is.

Adding goodness to your faith puts God first. Your goal is to be like Jesus. Jesus put God first in everything. You, too, should make every effort to make the things of God your first priority. This includes your financial resources. You are to put God first by giving a tithe. Giving a tithe is very important. It is a real test of your commitment to God. A tithe is ten percent of what you earn. If you earn $10.00 the first dollar is to be set aside for God and given to your local church. This is putting God first with your finances. This is God’s plan to meet the financial commitments of the church. Your tithe funds those in need, the advancement of the gospel, the programs of the church, and enables your pastors to live. God promises that if you will do this, He will bless you and take care of you.

Malachi 3:10 AMPL Bring all the tithes – the whole tenth of your income – into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove me by it says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open up the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Tithing sends a message that you love God more than money. It says you trust God to take care of you. When you tithe cheerfully from the heart, and give to your local storehouse (the church) God knows just how much you love Him.

2 Corinthians 9:7 NLT You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”

A believer can also give an offering in addition to the tithe. An offering is a gift to the church or a special Christian ministry outside the local church. God allows you to choose which ministries you would like to support and how much to give. He encourages you to be a generous and cheerful giver.

Adding GOODNESS to your faith means making a serious commitment to live out the good virtues, character and moral excellence of Jesus.
Adding GOODNESS to your faith means being bold and courageous in living like Jesus
Adding GOODNESS to your faith produces fulfillment.
Adding GOODNESS to your faith means putting God first in every facet of your life including your financial resources.

If you would like to receive my posts on practical Christian living, go to my website, growingbigingod.com and sign up. Thanks, Dick

Leave a comment!