Robert Griffith | 29 March 2023
Robert Griffith
29 March 2023

 

Christians should earnestly desire to grow. If we aren’t becoming more like Christ every day, we are defying what Scripture plainly teaches about the Christian walk:

Romans 8:29  “For those whom [God] foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.”

Christian growth involves transformation from our old way of life into a new and upward Christlike trajectory of change – increasing strength and effectiveness as servants of Christ. That’s exactly what Paul describes here:

Romans 12:2  “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

And yet, as every Christian well knows, the old mind is still there with all its habits of self-preoccupation, cravings for sensation, vain imaginations, and its appetite for what is cheap and gross. The old mind is the culprit that keeps us going back to the spiritual junk food. The old mind is the subtle enemy that keeps us feeding only on milk when we should be digesting solid meat. The old mind is what keeps us from being transformed and more committed to Christ and His Word.

Many believers find themselves in a holding pattern as they struggle with the besetting sins of their former lives. That’s because the key to breaking the cycle is often hidden right under our noses.

Lifting the Veil  –  Paul gives a beautiful explanation in his second letter to the Corinthians. As he describes the glories of the new covenant that Christians have with God, he goes back to the time of Moses and the Israelites. At one point, after being in God’s presence, Moses’ face shone with such brilliant glory that he had to put a veil over it in order not to blind his people.

But as glorious as Moses’ ministry of the law to the Israelites was, Paul says that it does not compare with the surpassing glory of the gospel of Christ and the new covenant that He installed with His death and resurrection. And Paul adds that since we have such a wonderful hope in Christ, we can be very bold.

2 Corinthians 3:13–17   “We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

What Paul is simply saying here is that the Jews of his day who didn’t know Christ remained with their minds veiled. They could not see the Lord because the veil of the old covenant -the Law – stood in the way. Then Paul comes to the thought that I am most concerned with:

Corinthians 3:18   “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

So Paul tells us that we can be changed into the image and glory of the Lord. It is very simple, he says. We don’t change ourselves. We just stand staring into the face of Jesus Christ and the Spirit of God does the transforming for us!

The Solitary Source  –  But you may feel there is just one hitch. You may be thinking, “If I’m supposed to look on the glory of the Lord, where do I find it to look upon?” And, of course, the answer to that is in God’s Word.

If you keep learning and beholding the glory of God in His Word, the Spirit of God will transform you into the image of Jesus Christ. It is just that simple (and just that difficult). So many Christians are seeking some shortcut to growth – naming and claiming their victory; watching Christian television; having the hands of ‘anointed prophets’ laid on them. But a shortcut simply doesn’t exist.

The greatest thing that will happen in your life, next to your salvation, will be the day you learn to study and feed on God’s Word.  You will find that the longer, the more intensely, and the more devotedly you look into the glory of Jesus Christ through the pages of Scripture, the more the Spirit of God will transform your life into the image of Christ. There are no shortcuts. If we are to grow, to mature, and to finally be transformed, we must feed on the Word of God!

The Growing Christian  –  Lack of growth is a sad thing to see in anyone or anything. It is especially tragic in Christians. Unfortunately too many believers don’t seem to be growing in their faith. The major cause is always a failure to be feeding on God’s Word.

In 1 Peter 1:23–2:3, the great apostle compares God’s Word to two things that are vital for life and growth: an imperishable seed and the milk of the Word. As Christ taught in His parable of the sower, God’s Word is like a seed that brings about the new birth. Just as a seed contains the power and energy of life, so too does God’s Word.

Before we can get the most from feeding on God’s Word, we need to get rid of the toxins that are still present in our life because of the lingering old nature. Peter describes these poisons as the evils of worldly malice, the guile of deceitfulness, the phoniness of hypocrisy, the self-centeredness of envy, and the slander of gossip. If we want to watch our diet, we should start with the sincere milk of the Word of God, and we are guaranteed to grow.

Our goal is to become fully mature and Christlike through feeding on the more solid food to be found in Scripture. The prophet Jeremiah described that process beautifully:

Jeremiah 15:16  “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, Lord God Almighty.”