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  • Writer's pictureBrad Young

Day 20: Lasting Spiritual Growth Through Radically Ordinary Means

Updated: Jan 10

“Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” Colossians 3:9–10 (ESV) 

If you have placed faith in Christ as your Lord and Savior, then you are a new creation: forgiven, redeemed, made new. However, we must recognize that we are not what we will be, free from the power and presence of sin, until Christ returns (1 John 3:2). We have already been forgiven, we will one day be glorified, but we are currently being renewed. There should be an active ongoing maturing happening for every believer. So, how do we cultivate this spiritual maturity? In our age of immediate gratification and quick-fix methodologies we can be tempted to look for the “Five Easy Steps to Rapid Spiritual Maturity.” However, the Bible tells us we grow like trees, not like weeds (Psalm 1). We grow slowly, in significant ways, over long periods of time, not abruptly. Patience is needed. Lasting spiritual growth is the result of radically ordinary means maintained over a lifetime. 

Before we talk about the means of biblical growth let’s establish the goal, because pursuing the wrong end will lead you to the wrong means. The apostle Paul in Romans 8:29, speaking of God’s purposes for us, says, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son..." Regardless of what one believes about predestination this verse makes clear that God’s ultimate goal for every Christian is that they would be conformed into the image of His Son. This means the goal of spiritual growth is not to be a better version of yourself, rather it is to be like Christ (1 John 3:2); to be an image of your Creator. So, how does this transformation happen? 

In John 15, Jesus tells us that we cannot bear Christlike fruit unless we abide in Him. He goes on to say, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love” (John 15:10). Obedience to God’s Word is the means by which we abide in the love of God and so grow to be like Him. This is not legalism (the belief that we earn salvation through our obedience) for we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone apart from any of our works (Ephesians 2:8-9). This is, however, an invitation to walk in a deeper relationship with God (Leviticus 11:44; John 14:15; 1 Peter 1:15–16). As you read the Bible, ask yourself “What does this teach me about God and how must I live in light of who He is?” By the power of the Holy Spirit, God promises to use knowledge of Himself in His Word as a means to grow, mature, and transform us. (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Colossians 3:10).  

This reading and obeying of God’s Word is a planting of your heart in the promises and commands of Scripture. It is a daily practice of cementing yourself in God’s story of redemption. It is a discipline of trusting God’s will over your own. It is a choosing of God himself to be your joy. There is no substitute for Bible reading. We never graduate from this discipline. Be a tree that plants your roots daily and deeply in the Scriptures (Psalm 1:1–3). If you want to grow to be like Christ, the means are not flashy. Pick up the ordinary practice of reading your bible every day to encounter God, do what He says in His Word, and abide in His love. Let the Bible be a lamp to your feet and a light to your path on this long and steady journey of Christlike formation (Psalm 119:105). Read, encounter, obey, abide, and you will be transformed.

Pray with me: "Father, I thank you for the gift that is your Word. Thank you that by it you have given me a way to know you for who you are and to know your love for me in Christ. Would you give me the desire to be in your Word everyday. Please give me eyes to see your beauty and glory as I read. Convict me of my sin and show me where I need to repent and faithfully walk in obedience to you so that I may abide in your love. Satisfy my heart with your steadfast love. Lead me today by the light of your Word. Amen." 


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