Are We Growing?

As we talked on Sunday morning about Colossians 3 and on Wednesday night about praying continually, it struck me that those two studies are interrelated. If we are becoming the transformed people Paul describes in Colossians, regular prayer will be a part of that life. Could Paul present us “mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28) based on the lives we are living?
Far too many Christians get stuck at the beginning. That is why Paul reminds the church in Colossians 3 about who they once were, and what their new lives should look like. God has in mind that even if we are living well according to His design, we should continue to move forward. ‌​“Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more” (1 Thessalonians 4:1). The people Paul wrote to were walking well, but he encouraged them to “do so more and more”. He wanted them to grow and mature.
‌In fact, growth and maturity are constant themes within Paul’s letters. He moves from the general call to “grow up in every way” (Ephesians 4:15) to more specific areas where their Christian walk should be changing in a positive way. They should “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). He tells them that their “faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing” (2 Thessalonians 1:3). He either notices growth or desires growth in their understanding (1 Corinthians 14:20) and their thinking and reasoning (1 Corinthians 13:11).
As these Christians hear Paul’s words and begin to grow and mature inwardly, outward results become apparent. Their love for one another increases (1 Thessalonians 3:12). Their language becomes more mature (1 Corinthians 13:11). They are more fruitful (John 15:1-2). As they bear this fruit they can be seen by the world (Matthew 5:13) and be witnesses to the one they follow (Acts 1:8). How does all this growth come about, and why does it elude so many Christians?
God has given us the tools we need for 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” (2 Peter 1:3). If God has really given us all that we need for “life and godliness,” it us up to us to better recognize these resources and become experts in their use. Only then can we grow into the mature Christians we can be through His grace and power.

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