How does God feel about your right now? How do you determine that? Do you base your answer on what kind of week you have had? Do you base it on how you are feeling at the moment? How does a Christian grow in his or her faith?
The gospel is God’s Good News! When we use the word gospel, we are referring to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The gospel is the good news that Jesus died for our sins, was buried and was raised on the third day. Yet, the gospel is not just the good news for our salvation. It is the good news for our continued growth as a Christian.
Growth is a normal expression of life. When something or someone does not grow, we know that something is wrong. Trees a need healthy root system because the roots are how it draws in water and nutrients. Roots are also what anchor the tree to withstand the storms. In the same way, Christians must be rooted in the gospel in order to be saved and to grow.
If you are not where you should be spiritually, the answer is not simply to get busier for Jesus. It is to abide in God’s love given to you in Jesus. Different people grow at different rates. And none of us grows at the same steady rate all the time. Yet, the fact remains that God’s children should be growing spiritually.
Over the next few weeks I want to share a few truths about how a Christian can grow his or her faith. The first truth is that we must be rooted in the gospel if we are going to grow. There are two bookends between which all spiritual growth occurs.
We are dependent upon the righteousness of Christ for our acceptance with God (1Cor 15:3). Jesus died for our sins. On the cross, Jesus bore the full brunt of God’s wrath. Jesus exhausted God’s wrath. There is nothing left to pay. Jesus cried, “It is finished!” The debt for our sins has been paid in full.
Jesus was able to fully and completely satisfy the justice of God because Jesus is perfectly righteous. He always does what is right. He met God’s perfect standard for righteousness. “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”
We are dependent upon the power of Christ for our ability to produce spiritual growth (1Cor 15:4). We are too prone to depending on our own performance and efforts at being good for our spiritual growth. To the degree that we feel we must perform in a specific way for God to accept us, to that degree our spiritual growth is stalled. We are saved by grace, so we must grow by that same grace.
Religion gives us a lot of stuff “to do.” This is fundamentally different than how a tree grows. A tree grows because it is alive. Most strategies for Christian growth are nothing more than “to do” lists. The problem is that this quickly becomes wearisome to us.
Jesus’ resurrection underscores the power of God that is at work in us. Subtract the resurrection from the Good News equation and it is no longer good news.
How do we grow in our faith in Jesus? Through a relationship just like we would with any other person. If you want to see spiritual fruit in your life, focus on Jesus’ acceptance of you, given as a gift of God’s grace.