Pastor Travis Burkett
Growing in Jesus is something most Christians desire, but it can often be one of the most difficult things to do. Have you ever felt like your Christian life is going in circles? You want to grow but taking the step to dedicate to growth is a struggle. May we be encouraged with three causes when we dedicate ourselves to grow in Christ.
The first cause is that growing in Jesus causes you to make your faith real. James 1:22 says, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” James says that it’s not enough to say that you follow Jesus. It’s not enough to wear the label and attend church. You deceive yourself if you think you can go through the motions. The encouragement is, when we dedicate ourselves to growing in Jesus, we can’t help but make our faith the motivation for our lives.
We live in a would of a lot of “going through the motions" Christians. Statistics say that 84% of teens won’t remain faithful to church after high school. 55% of parents would rather be a friend to their kids. 71% of Christians admit to gossiping every day. How do we get here? See, when you don’t prioritize growing in Jesus, the only place you want growth is within.
It can be so easy for Christians to go through the motions. But why? Because we don’t have a desire/commitment to grow. We are content in our current state. Paul tells us to be content but he doesn’t tell us to be content with who we are, he tells us to be content with whatever Jesus has for us (but to know what Jesus has for us, takes growing in Jesus.)
Secondly, growing in Jesus takes you beyond the basics. I love 2 Peter 3. It encourages us to live like a last days Christian. It talks of the importance of our mission as believers. It talks about people mocking our mission in Christ. It talks about the importance of being the light. It calls us to be diligent through it all, but at the end, it says this in 2 Peter 3:18: “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”
We are challenged to grow in grace. We are called to grow in knowledge (diving into His Word.) We are commanded to give Him glory (worship His name). I think of the time the disciples had with Jesus. They were eager to go beyond the basics. They desired to grow, learn, watch, and understand the mission that God had for them.
Are we too eager to takes steps to follow Him more? Do we have an eagerness to learn and study God’s Word?
Thirdly, growing in Jesus helps us take a stand for Jesus. Philippians 1:27 says, “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”
Growing in Jesus helps us take a stand for Christ. However, before you take a stand for God, we must first walk with Him. So, how can we do this? Philippians explains:
keep Christ at the center of our conversations. May we reflect Jesus in our speech and our topics of speaking. Consistently live our lives for Jesus. May we stay faithful in public, in isolation, and in comforts. May our prayer be, "Lord, help me glorify You in every moment." Concentrate on the body of Christ (striving together for the faith). I don’t want it to be said of me, that 'he was a person filled with division, strife, and gossip.' I want it said of me, 'he led a life living in grace.' May we focus on bettering the body, not our feelings.
I remember my first time preaching. I was 19 years old at Bible college. I preached on the feeding of the 5,000. Let me tell you, it was terrible. I remember thinking, there is no way I’m doing this with my life. I struggled every second I was standing in front of the class. My speech was shaky, my delivery was bad, and my material was elementary. I left that class thinking, 'I’ll never be a preacher.' You know, sometimes I can walk away from my time with God thinking, 'I’ll never grow how I should.' But I'm encouraged that when we abide in Jesus, He abides in us.
May we just take a step to grow in Jesus - and when we do - His growth in us will cause us to make our faith real, bring us beyond the basics, and help us take a stand.