For by grace you have
been saved through faith,
and that not of yourselves;
it is the gift of God.
Ephesians 2:8 WEB

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New Life of Beauty and Grace

Spiritual Growth ABCs

Even babies begin growing as soon as they leave the womb. Now that you’ve left the dark womb of the world behind, you’re going to need a clear idea about which way is up where your growth is concerned. These pages will give you the keys for accelerated growth!

 


His Image Is Everything

The name of the game is to grow spiritually. Now that we know who He is, we all want to grow closer to Jesus and become more like Him. You really can’t accomplish one without the other, so Spiritual Growth ABCs: Keeping Our Focus on Jesus!the key to growth is very simple: Keep your eyes on Jesus. [1] That way you will “see” Him better as you stay focused on Him—this draws us close. As you stay focused on Him you will “see” better what He is like—this transforms us. His Image is crucial! (See Beholding the True Image at our sister site, www.healingstreamsusa.org.)

In the beginning God created Adam and Eve in his image and likeness.[2] Although we fell from our high calling, our Father hasn’t forgotten His original purpose and intent. He still wants us to be bearers of, revealers of, and reflections of His true Image. In short, He wants us to be like Jesus! He has always wanted us to be like Jesus—Jesus is the exact representation of the Invisible God.[3]

By beholding Jesus with eyes of faith we can now “see” what our God really looks like—we can hold an accurate Image of God within our hearts—and we can also “see” what we have always been meant to look like. Look at other people and all you can see is what fallen human beings look like with some in greater need of redemption and change than others. But looking to Jesus we actually see what Adam was like, before he fell from grace.[4] That takes being “only human” to a whole new level!
 

Spiritual Growth ABCs

A) Growing in the revelation of who Jesus is and who you are in Him.
B) Growing in faith to live by the grace that Jesus reveals.
C) Growing in faith to believe the truths that Jesus reveals.

 

The essential first step of this transformation is the revelation of Jesus Christ to those who don’t know Him. There can be no genuine spiritual growth without this. God had to make a way for removing the “veil” created by the sins of Adam and our own sins.[5] Every new born Christian experiences this “unveiling” in some way. We can all say, “I was blind, but now I see.” What we see is the Risen Christ: We have been given eyes of faith to “see” that Jesus is both Savior and Lord of the entire world. He is alive!

Jesus is full of grace and truth.[6] Therefore, our growth will be in the direction of growing greatly in grace,both as receivers of grace and as grace givers, so that we can be filled to overflowing with grace—just as Jesus is. As we see God through Jesus lovingly giving us grace—the mercy and help we don’t deserve and can’t earn—we learn to give forgiveness, acceptance and help to others even when it is undeserved. Especially then. In this way we grow into His likeness—as we grow in genuine love of God and others. Growing in love is our top priority![7] The litmus test of true spiritual growth is the fruit of the Spirit. This is the “personality” of Jesus emerging through us:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 ESV


Our growth will also be in the direction of truth. Remember it was by being tricked into believing a lie that Eve, then Adam, first broke faith with God. If you have already been born again by a living faith in who Jesus is, then you have escaped the power of the first and greatest “lie” that the enemy bound you with—the darkness that kept you from giving your life to Jesus until now. But beware of the enemy’s second greatest lie! He will do everything He can to make you think that it is sometimes better for you to live for yourself your way than to sacrifice all to live for Jesus His way. The truth is always liberating: The Word of God is composed of words from God that will lead you back to Him. Immerse yourself in His Word and the truths they bring you.

Recognizing that the Bible is necessary for growth and having a godly curiosity birthed in us about God and Jesus, propels most of us to study the scriptures, as it should. Gaining Biblical knowledge, however, is not the same thing as spiritual growth. In fact, if we are wise, we will steadily pursue all of the "Big Five" Connecters that keep us united to Christ: Bible, prayer, worship, fellowship and service. Growing in these is necessary for our growth in Christ, but we could be doing them relentlessly and yet be growing in the wrong direction!

Spiritual Growth Moments  We need to understand what spiritual growth is not, in order to keep our eyes peeled for spiritual growth opportunities that will help us to grow from baby steps to walking and even running with the Lord.


Scriptures and Foot Notes

[1]  Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV  A key element of Spiritual Growth A, B, C's is learning to keep our eyes on Jesus, looking to Him especially during our difficult times.
[2]  Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27 ESV
[3]  [Now] He is the exact likeness of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible]; He is the Firstborn of all creation. Colossians 1:15 AMP
[4]  Jesus is called the second or the “last” Adam: Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 1 Corinthians 15:45 ESV
[5]  In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV
[6]  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17 ESV
[7]  If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 ESV