Sometimes I feel as if I have made no progress in areas of my life. I have set goals and feel like things are taking longer or that I have missed deadlines. Sometimes I can’t see the change that I am hoping to see. As I evaluate and re-evaluate, I am reminded that I may be using incorrect measurements. So many of us measure our growth or success numerically. We place more value on quantity rather than quality. Goals are good. Completing things are good. They need to happen. However, we need to learn to value the process. We need to give value to lessons learned and changes made to how we respond in thought and speech; to how we conduct ourselves in terms of perseverance and patience; to the character that is being built in us even as God produces fruit through us.
No matter what it is that I am doing, whether it be completing a project or learning a new skill, the action or activity is not actually what matters most. God is trying to do something with my life but more importantly he is trying to do something in my life. According to 2 Peter 2:18, whatever I do, God is trying to give me a space to grow in three areas- grace, knowledge and glorifying him. 2 Peter 2:18 says, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.”
Knowing him is life. In whatever we do, are we growing in knowing the truth, the holiness, the power of Jesus?
Growing in grace means to mature as a Christian. It means that we allow God to use every opportunity to do his work in us. He gives grace to the humble as James 4:6 tells us. When we grow in grace, we recognize our need for God and stay humble before him. Whatever I have physically succeeded at accomplishing, it means nothing if my relationship with God has not grown. Have I learned more about him? Have I learned more about his power at work in my and through me? Has God succeeded at bearing fruit in my life? Have those watching me only see me do something or be someone that leads them to see Jesus?
So many of us want to know. We want to be in the know. We want to have a monopoly on knowledge. We read up on so many things. The most important knowledge we could ever attain is the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour. Knowing him is life. In whatever we do, are we growing in knowing the truth, the holiness, the power of Jesus? Are we making time to see God at work in what he has called us to do? In whatever I have done, have I grown in knowing more of who God is and have others grown in seeing who God is? Do I show people that what matters to me is knowing Jesus and making him known?
Glorifying God does not happen without me doing something. What I do is very important, however what I do is not more important than who I do it for or why I do it? When I do works, for the purpose of glorifying God and not for the sake of gaining attention for myself, then I am fulfilling scripture in Matthew 5:16, of letting my light shine before others, that they may see and glorify God. Whatever I do, do I recognize that it is God who allowed me, blessed me, equipped me and even gave me recognition for it?
There are two practical places that I go to keep me growing in these three areas. These two places keep me accountable to myself and God.
One place that is a sure source of growth is God’s Word. We grow in grace when we read God’s word and let it “dwell in us richly”. God uses scripture to encourage us, strengthen us, heal us, teach us and discipline us. Are you spending time in his word so that you have direction and wisdom that will help to fuel whatever you are doing? Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “For the word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double- edged sword, it penetrates even to diving soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Or are you wondering why your efforts are failing and why you are exhausted with all the energy that you are releasing? God to the word- it is living and active! John 6 :63 tell us that God’s word are spirit and life. Mathew 4:4 tells us the we live by every word of God. Isaiah 55:11 tells us that his word does not return voice but brings prosperity. We need God’s word! We grow in grace- we mature – we learn all we need to know- we glorify God-we receive all that we need through God’s word.
Another thing God uses to help us grow is each other. Are you spending more time with God’s people or are you spending less time? Proverbs tells us that “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” and Hebrews 10:25 tells us, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” The Christian walk is not meant to be done alone. It is in fellowship that we grow. We cannot measure our growth against ourselves and without outside support or input. Dialogue, prayer, studying of scriptures, worshipping together help us all to mature- to know more about Jesus and to glorify him. The more that serve him together the more others see him.
Anything that I do and am successful in, is all because of Christ. I am a doer. I have a competitive nature. God continues to be gracious to me in reminding me to pay attention to what he is doing in me and not what I am doing outwardly. I can only produce the most growth when HE is my measure and my long-term goal. I am so thankful that God is more pleased with who I am and am becoming, than all the things I have done or will ever do.
Colossians 2:7 Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.