Three Ways to Grow Your Faith
Principles from Peter for healthy spiritual growth
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.
When my children ask me a question and I don’t know the answer, I tell them, “I don’t know, but my phone does” as I begin to search the Internet for answers. I like to make them laugh even as I point out one of the amazing advantages — and problems — of today’s world. If you have a smartphone, you are connected to a worldwide network with lots of information. With good search terms, you can have answers to your questions about almost anything in a matter of minutes. (Keep in mind: they might be the wrong answers.) But knowing how to look things up does not truly make me smart, does it?
A large and growing number of people in today’s world are coming to faith in Christ because of how far technology can go. Radio, television and the Internet share the gospel to millions every day! But how can we really grow as followers of Jesus? Here are three ancient secrets for Christian growth we still need in the modern age:
1. Take God’s Word to heart
The Bible has many examples, stories and commands meant to get us to read it —and know it. One of the clearest commands is found in 1 Peter: “As newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the Word, that with it you may grow” (1 Peter 2:2). It’s not uncommon to hear even Christians admit they have little to no desire for God’s Word. But it’s not normal. Search your heart. If you find you truly do want to know what God wants to show you, you have already taken this command to heart! How can you really say you follow Jesus if you don’t know what He taught? (Luke 6:46) Read it, or listen to it, regularly. Come to know it. Do this with purpose in mind: growth in your relationship with the Lord. Remember, He’s there with you as you read it. He will unlock it for you — if you ask. He will help you keep it, and prompt you to rely upon it, for guidance in your life.
2. Take Part in the Body of Christ
How do you know if you’re a gifted painter? You paint! Painters, public speakers, athletes, and skilled workers all know this: you may be gifted, but you still need to work at it. As you walk with Jesus, it’s also important to be doing the things you know He has gifted His followers to do. “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,” (Ephesians 4:11-12). Just as the 1 Peter passage (above) encourages us to read the Bible for the purpose of growth, this one describes the purpose of gifts. They’re given to grow the whole church! Peter says it another way: “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10). God has gifted you! As it says, “each has received a gift!” So as you try serving in various ways, you’ll see more results, and feel more joy, as you serve in some ways, than in others. Think of the gift God gave you as an investment in the church itself - He wants you to build it up, making the whole body grow stronger.
3. Take Care to Bear Fruit
Jesus is our Creator and Owner (Colossians 1:16), our Lord and Master (John 13:13), who calls us “friend” (John 15:14-16). He didn’t save us to simply live life as we choose, but to live for Him (2 Corinthians 5:15). How do we do that? By bearing His fruit. There are two kinds: good works (which make others glorify God, Matthew 5:16), and the multiplication of other believers, (Matthew 13:23).
Peter’s second letter begins, “[I am writing] To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:1, 5-8).
All of this shows me that the best way for me to grow is to go public as a serious follower of Jesus. For something as serious as this, I can’t afford to be satisfied with a phone that is “smart!” I need to know what it really means to follow Jesus. I need to put it into practice. And I need to do it in such a way that I am seeing good results.
Taking our three principles from Peter’s together, we could say:
- Growth is the purpose of knowing the Bible (1 Peter 2:2).
- Growth (yours and that of the rest of your church fellowship), is the purpose of the spiritual gift(s) God invested in you (1 Peter 4:10).
- And bearing spiritual fruit, which means…
- Sons and daughters (See Paul’s attitude toward the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 4:14-15)
- The “fruit of the Spirit” (See Galatians 5:22-23)
…is the purpose (and evidence) of growth (2 Peter 1:1-8).
Pray this week:
Lord Jesus, I want to grow to know You, not just to know where I can find facts about You. Amen.
Does this sound too hard? Maybe impossible? Read 2 Peter 1:3 and click the “Contact Us” button below to discuss how God gives us divine power to do these things!