When you think of growth, what comes to mind? It may surprise you to consider the number of different definitions that exist. Generally speaking, most people would agree that growth is a positive concept. However, Christian growth and secular growth are not the same. Christian growth is sanctification. Every true Christian is on this journey to become holy like God.
How would Jesus Christ define growth? As I ponder this question, I take comfort in biblical answers. Scripture is authoritative and does have answers to difficult questions. This is exciting and encouraging to me.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 8:10). The gospel is really good news. I used to wonder why people needed saving. Now I understand that all people are sinful by nature. Death is the penalty for sin; this is why we all die eventually. Jesus Christ died for our sins and in doing so, he paid the price so we can live.
Jesus Christ reconciled us back to a right relationship with God. A Christian is justified or declared righteous in God’s sight because the blood of Jesus has paid for, or made atonement for, our sins (Romans 5:9). This is where Christian growth begins.
Growth Begins with a Seed
Christian growth begins with a seed. In the Bible, Jesus explains how a Christian grows. He tells a parable where the word of God is the seed (Luke 8:11).
Have you ever wondered why some people believe the gospel and others do not? Jesus provided some reasons why the seed takes root in some hearts and not in others. The soil is the secret.
A seed can fall on many types of soil. Likewise, the word of God can be heard by many unique hearts. When a person hears the gospel, the heart matters. The heart is a factor in whether the word of God results in Christian growth, or the seed of the gospel simply stagnates.
In the Bible, the character of a Christian is described as fruit. Christian character grows when the word of God is held in a heart of honesty (Luke 8:15). It takes resilience to continue forward trusting the word, especially in a world where Christians may not seem much different from non-Christians. Fortunately, there is a way to discern false Christians from true believers. Jesus said we would recognize them by the fruit they bear (Matthew 7:15-20).
God Gives Christian Growth
Teachers and preachers are instrumental in facilitating Christian growth because they share the word of God. However, it is important to recognize the person sharing the word does not cause growth. God, and God alone, gives the growth (1 Corinthians 3:6-7). For this reason, a prescriptive approach is not recommended for the facilitation of Christian posttraumatic growth.
For more information on how you can help facilitate Christian growth, subscribe to receive The Journal of Christian Resilience and Posttraumatic Growth. Every Christian has a God-given purpose in sharing the gospel. I sincerely appreciate your prayers for my sanctification as I continue writing.