Growth In Confidence.

My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Psalm 34:2 NKJV.path

How many of us can remember as a child when we would boast about our dad saying”My daddy can do anything.” Soon, as we grow the phrase is repeated less.

However, for the child of God, the opposite is true, as we grow in understanding of the greatness of our Lord. As growth increases our awareness of His greatness, both in His love demonstrated for us and His power toward us, we will become increasingly more dependent on Him to direct us and enable us.Psalm 34

That is what is referred to as “walking in the Spirit.” Growth daily in Him, comes through a desire for a childlike worship—heartfelt praise that is vocal and visible in our celebration of Him.

King David who presented a vocal and visible praise describes himself in Psalm 131. “Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes arrogant. Neither do I concern myself with great matters nor with things too difficult for me. Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forever.”

David describes himself as a small child, looking to God for everything in the way a child looks to its mother.

Therefore, true maturity is learning the childlikeness that looks less and less to our own wisdom for answers or to our own strength for results—and trusts the Father entirely.

Then, as God moves on our behalf, we will find ourselves boasting about Him to anyone who will listen. Confidence grows, and we find ourselves asking others do you know who our “ Daddy God” is?

 

Growth in Servant hood.

Growth in Servant hood.

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 NKJV. are-you-a-servant

Becoming like Jesus means we will grow into His servant-hearted character. Some may seek to do miracles, but Jesus did not say His first work was that. Some may desire recognition, or to exercise the power Jesus functioned in, but He did not say His primary purpose was to display His power.

Jesus said His primary purpose was that He came to serve and to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). He came to serve as an example of humility and self-sacrifice (John 13:14, 15); even now, He continues to serve as our intercessor, praying to the Father on our behalf (Rom. 8:34).4_romans_5_8_romans_3_25_mark_

The primary call to the church is to secure and multiply Jesus’ model of servant hood by creating an atmosphere and ministry emphasis that produces servants (Eph. 4:12).

The ability and opportunity to serve are gifts from God; and true growth, when it is pure, will produce the fruit of service.

Tomorrow: Growth in Confidence.

Growth Indicator.

Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” “This is the first and great commandment.” “And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”” Matthew 22:37-39 NKJV.loveyour-neighbor

Growth Indicator.

One of the greatest indicators that we growing in our relationship with God is found in our willingness to love. God is love. Love is not just something He does. It’s what He is. It stands to reason that we are never more godly, never more like God, than when we love.

How easily we may look at these two commandments and say quickly, “I love the Lord,” yet struggle with loving our neighbor. Jesus makes the second commandment as important as the first. We cannot fulfill the first commandment to love God without obeying the second commandment to love our neighbor (1 John 4:20).

Nor can we avoid this problem by narrowing our definition of “neighbor” to people “in our neighborhood” –that is, to those of our family, race,perspective, economic or intellectual level, value system, or religion.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37), Jesus makes the world my neighbor by qualifying anyone God puts in my path, or who needs me, as “my neighbor.”hands reaching

Tomorrow: Growth in Servanthood.

Growth Hindrance #3 the flesh

Growth Hindrance #3

I say then: walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. Galatians 5:16, 17 NKJV.flesh v spirit

Growth Hindrance #3 The Flesh. The flesh as an enemy is a NT idea focusing the carnal, inbred tendencies of fallen humankind. These propensities are the most immediate enemy of the believer who desires to live under the control, influence, and empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

The Word of God says the desire alone to do good is not enough to overcome our flesh (Romans 7:21). Rather, we are called to war against the flesh; to live our lives in a tug –of-war as our flesh urges indulgence and the Holy Spirit constrains us to righteousness.

Victory in this war is found in abiding in a right relationship with Jesus (Gal. 5:25), understanding that true strength is found in our weakness (2 Cor.12:10), and continually submitting to the unction and urging of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18).

Victory comes as we take these practical steps, avoiding or overcoming the pull of our flesh.

Tomorrow: Growth in Love.

Growth Hindrance #2

Growth Hindrance #2spiritual_growth as atree

Adulters and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4 NKJV.

Growth Hindrance #2 the World. The spirit of the world (Greek aion) is one of the unending enemies of the believer. World refers to the world system—to all its values, mind-set philosophies of life, and priorities that run contrary to the will and way of God.  playing in the world

The world suggests that your success requires you to turn away from the path of godliness—to neglect developing your relationship with God. But Jesus said a life without God or the things of God is worthless, regardless of its appearance (Mark 8:36).

Romans 12:2 provides a strategy to combat the pull of the world, through the renewal, or “reprogramming,” of our minds. The Holy Spirit’s power can transform our minds (Phil. 2:5, 13; Titus 3:5) and redirect us toward the things of God (Phil.4:8). To gain victory over the Devil, resist him! To gain victory over the world, renew your mind!the three evils

Tomorrow: Growth Hindrance #3 the flesh.

I found this post by Dr. Michael Brown very interesting.

Since When Has the Gospel of Christ Been Popular?
BY MICHAEL BROWN , CP OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
December 1, 2014|8:10 am
  • For the last several years, Christian leaders have been asking, “What’s wrong with us and our message today? Why do so many people have such a negative view of the Church?”
But are those the right questions to ask? Should we expect the gospel to be popular with the world?
On the one hand, it’s always good for us to examine ourselves and to ask the hard questions.
Are we rightly representing our Savior? Do our lives reflect who He is?
Does the society associate us with purity or corruption, with integrity or scandal, with compassion or selfishness?
Sadly, all too often, we have fallen short in our conduct and example to the point that, in 1989, I wrote, “Look at our American scene today. The reproach we suffer is not for the Messiah’s sake; we are not scorned because of our militant stand. No. We are mocked because of our leaders’ sins, because of our failure to be holy and clean. Gospel and greed seem to go hand in hand, and our society equates evangelist with exploiter. Yet Jesus is the Head of the Body! How can this be?”
And if we’re really candid, we will have to admit that we have often put our trust in the arm of the flesh, leaning on parties to carry out our agenda rather than trusting in the power of the gospel and the life of the Spirit (with the help of the government rather than dependence on it).
For all these failures (among many others), we need to humble ourselves and repent, having dishonored the Lord and driven sinners away from Him. May God help us to take responsibility for our sins!
But there’s another side to the story that is often overlooked today.
Who said the gospel is supposed to be popular with the lost and rebellious? Why do we measure our effectiveness for the Lord and our loyalty to Him based on what the world thinks about us?
We are certainly called to let the light of our good deeds shine brightly (Matthew 5:14-16), to live honorable lives before non-believers (1 Peter 2:12), and to have a good reputation with outsiders, especially if we are leaders (1 Timothy 3:7).
But let us not deceive ourselves. We will never be more Christlike than Christ, and just as the world hated Him, it will hate us too, no matter how exemplary our lives might be (John 15:18-20).
You say, “But isn’t the gospel good news?”
Yes, of course it is good news – unspeakably good news.
It is the message of salvation as a free gift through the shed blood of Jesus.
It is the message of unmerited forgiveness, the almost inexpressible display of divine mercy, the astounding declaration of the love of God.
But it is a message that calls on sinners to repent and acknowledge their guilt and to confess Jesus as Lord (Acts 2:38; Romans 10:9-10).
And it is a message that is often criticized, maligned, and mocked, a message that is very costly to preach.
That’s why the apostles were persecuted and killed, why servant-messengers like Stephen were stoned to death, and why Paul reminded Timothy that everyone who lived a godly life would be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12).
The truth is that godliness is not always popular, and when everyone speaks well of us, we know that something is wrong. That’s how past generations spoke about the false prophets (Luke 6:26).
People who live in darkness, by their very nature, hate the light.
People who are proud and rebellious do not take well to the call to submit to the lordship of Jesus.
People who are self-righteous are not quick to admit their guilt.
That’s why the rulers of the nations “take counsel together, against the LORD and against his anointed, saying, ‘Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.'” (Psalm 2:2-3)
As Paul wrote, “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Or, in the words of John, “We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19).
Yet today, as if Satan had not blinded the hearts and minds of the lost, we are told that if the world is to accept us, we must avoid controversial social issues (like abortion and same-sex “marriage”) and preach a non-confrontational, positive-only message.
But to do so is to conform to the world rather than transform the world, to bow down to the spirit of the age rather than liberate the lost from the dominion of darkness.
How can we be so shortsighted and naïve?
Long ago the people of Israel said to the prophets, “‘Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.'” (Isaiah 30:10-11)
In response to this challenge, the prophet Isaiah replied, “Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel . . .” (Isaiah 30:12).
That is exactly what we must do today, seeking to please the Lord rather than people, exercising wisdom and compassion in the midst of our obedience yet being determined to speak and do what is right regardless of cost or consequence. That is the ultimate manifestation of love for a dying world.
Otherwise, in our zeal to avoid offending the world, we end up offending the Lord.

 

Growth Hindrance

Growth Hindrance #1spiritual_growth as atree

Be self-controlled, be watchful; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8 NKJV.

The number one growth hinderance: the devil. A believer’s growth may be hindered or halted by three distinct enemies: the Devil, the world, and the flesh. We are warned how the Devil walks or roams about like a lion. When lions hunt, they look for weak, young, isolated, unguarded animals. They are the ones marked for attack.

The Devil’s ultimate agenda is to destroy us, not merely to hurt, maim, or discourage, but to devour and destroy us. He does that when he gets us to bow to circumstances, pressures, or forces of evil design, hoping thereby to make us yield to him. 1-Peter-5_8

To win the victory, due the opposite: B.O.W. to Jesus, the One you Believe, Obey, and Worship. He overcame, refusing to bow to Satan’s devices (Matt. 4:8-10),  and our growth in Him will bring the same ability to resist or stand against the Devil (1 Pet. 5:9).

Put on the full armor of God: be armed with the Word of God (Eph.6:10-14), believe Him (Heb. 11:6), obey Him (1 John 3:24), and worship Him (John 4:23). Receive Jesus’ overcoming victory!

Tomorrow: Growth hindrance #2 The World.   

Growth in Glorifying God.

“I have glorified You on the earth, I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together alongside Yourself, with the glory which I had with you before the world was.”  John 17:4, 5 NKJV.

Growth

Jesus’ use of “glory” transcends the word’s use as commonly expressed. Describing the glory of and His glorifying of God (Greek doxazo), He means to make known; to make or leave a favorable impression or opinion.a lifetime of growth

Jesus’ life clearly did that: He glorified the Father, displaying on earth the splendor of a wondrously favorable impression of the Father. When humankind saw Jesus, we saw the Father (John 14:9). Going further, Jesus explains how He glorified God: He “finished the work” the Father gave Him to do.

To glorify God, then, is to complete an assignment—To do those things He has called, chosen, appointed, and anointed us to do.

 

QuestionYourselfJohn17-4     Tomorrow: Growth Inhibitor, the Devil.

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