“This life is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness; not health, but healing, not being but becoming; not rest, but exercise; we are not yet what we will be, but we are growing toward it; the process is not yet finished, but it is going on; this is not the end but it is the road; all does not gleam with glory, but all is being purified.”
The New Living Translation (NLT) of the Bible defines grow, grows, or growing as “to become, to spring up and develop to maturity.” The New Testament church grew after the infusion of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. In a few centuries, Christianity became the official church of the Roman Empire. Today, two millennia after its birth, the church hasn’t reached full maturity; but, it is growing in size and in spirituality.
Sanctification is the process, or result, of being made holy.1 Christians are made holy by belief in Jesus Christ. Yet, believers are called to be consecrated to (set aside for) God in the way they live. The only way Christians can be holy in their thoughts and actions is through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Each of us who enters a personal relationship with Jesus Christ—those who accept Jesus as their Savior—have a responsibility to grow in knowledge of Jesus and the Holy Scriptures. Paul wrote that initially newborn Christians need a diet of milk (1 Corinthians 3:2). This means that most of what these young Christians consume is basic content on who Jesus is and what he did for us by his death on the cross. Often this basic content is provided by pastors in sermons or by Bible teachers.
While we consume the basic Christian principles and instructions from clergy and Bible study leaders, we should start a program of learning for ourselves. An efficient way to do this is to set aside time, perhaps 30 minutes, each morning for reading the Bible and pondering read verses. During this 30 minutes, we can talk with God; ask him to help us understand what we read in his Word. Importantly, ask God to assist us to be witnesses for him throughout our day.
Despite being a follower of Jesus and having my morning devotions, some of my days can only be termed “bad.” On those days, every time I turn around I am aggravated or impatient about something. I’m tempted to lash out at others (and sometimes I do) and even blame God, “Hey, I’m trying here, God. Why are you letting this happen?” Jesus’ brother, James. had some good advice for me in these situations (James 1:13-15 NLT). He wrote that when I am tempted, to never say “God is tempting me.” God never tempts anyone. Rather, my temptations come from my own desires. These temptations give birth to sinful actions. Constantly, I must monitor my desires, identifying which are from God and which are from Satan. Saint Peter reminded Christians that the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8-9). His advice to Christians is to stay alert, to stand firm against the devil, and to be strong in our faith.
Reflection: How much intentional time do you spend with God each day? Is it enough?