Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
- 2 Peter 3:17-18
“Growth is the goal of the Christian. Maturity is mandatory. If a child ceased to develop, the parent would be concerned, right? …
“When a Christian stops growing, help is needed. If you are the same Christian you were a few months ago, be careful. You might be wise to get a checkup. Not on your body, but on your heart. Not a physical, but a spiritual.
“May I suggest one? …
“Why don’t you check your habits? … Make these four habits regular activities and see what happens.
“First, the habit of prayer … Second, the habit of study … Third, the habit of giving … And last of all, the habit of fellowship.”
- Max Lucado, When God Whispers Your Name
I have often made these suggestions that Max Lucado makes. Not the giving as much as the other three, but that is important as well, and not only money.
But what is the goal of the four good habits? Christian growth. I have also mentioned in the past that I know far too many people who are satisfied with getting into Heaven by the side door and sleeping on a cot in the open air. But God is preparing a mansion for each of us. Why are we satisfied with that kind of entry into our eternal home? Eternal is forever. Why not prepare for it?
Can the Truth be in us if we do not desire to be more like Jesus?
That brings me to the Scripture above. Some denominations believe that you can fall from Grace, using 2 Peter 3:17 as an example. But could it be that Jesus was not in your heart to begin with and the ‘secure position’ that the Apostle Peter mentions was not yours to lose in the first place? You never really had it, and your lack of Christian growth is the evidence?
Don’t get me wrong. I am not condemning anyone, just giving a different view of that one verse. God will eventually sort that out, and I have known people to slip into carnality, a life of sin, after becoming a Christian and then have an awakening, repent, and do a lot of fast growing in the faith to catch up. Their conversion was true, but the initial weakness of their faith caused them to stumble.
But the second verse in the Scripture above requires us to grow. Indeed, Max Lucado is correct. A parent that sees a lack of development in their child will be concerned. The word ‘concerned’ seems to be far too calm of a term. Going totally berserk might be more along the lines of their feelings, depending upon which area of life the lack of development might be in.
So, let’s pray. Let’s get better organized in our prayer life, me included. Let’s pray for ourselves, our families, our extended families, our church families, our country, and our world. But let’s praise God for what He’s doing in all those areas. Let’s thank Him for all He has done. Let’s simply adore God. He loves us; it ought to be mutual. Spending time doing it seems natural.
So, let’s study the Bible. Reading the works of others is okay, but what is God saying to you in the Scripture that you read? Some take the word of a well-known pastor and never read the Bible. How do you know that this well-known pastor got the interpretation correct? I wrote about unsubscribing from God yesterday. If we don’t spend time reading and studying the Bible, should we be surprised when our lives start to unravel?
So, let us give. If we are to do the fourth habit and enter into fellowship with others, giving to the upkeep of the church where that fellowship occurs might be important. But let’s take it a step further. Can you work within the church to help the church grow? Can you go on a mission trip to show God’s love toward those outside the church? If you are unable to ‘go’, can you bake or cook or make a quick lunch for those who are going? Can you embroider a saying and frame it when your church builds or repairs a home for someone, something saying that Jesus loves them? Even if the people in the home are not believers, they may hang it on the wall as a reminder of Christians coming to their aid in their time of need. That framed embroidery might be a part in leading them to a saving knowledge of Jesus.
So, let us have fellowship. I know of many Christians who think that they can do it on their own. They may be able to be saved on their own, but they won’t grow if they stay alone. In having fellowship, they’ll meet people that they disagree with. In some cases, this is good. You do not know how strong your faith is until you must defend it. Maybe the disagreement is about something trivial and you can agree to disagree. Maybe you’ll find yourself wrong and your growth will leap forward. But if you find yourself correct, help the other person to grow.
And remember that growing in faith is not a linear thing. Sometimes, the hardest obstacles in your life can lead to the greatest growth, but sometimes this burst of “Christian Growth” is just an outward evidence, from a moment of adversity, of the slow plodding growth of praying, studying, giving, and fellowship that is done on a daily basis.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.