The purpose of the Christian life is to develop a deep and intimate relationship with Jesus. Just like your earthly relationships, growing as a Christian is a process. It takes time and certain activities to grow in Christ. This is really no different than the time and activities you spend with those you have an earthly relationship with. In this article you will not find some profound new teaching. What you will find is just some plain down home advice on how to grow as a Christian man or woman.
How to grow as a Christian
When you made Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior, you started a brand new life and a brand new relationship. Some of the things you did in your previous life, you will end up giving up. There are other things that you will start to do that you never did before. As you start to do these new things, they will build on one another. As these basic building blocks are placed in your life, you will find yourself growing and maturing as a believer in Jesus.
Block number 1 – Spending time with Jesus.
Just like when you are developing a new friendship or love interest in your life, the first thing you do is spend time with Jesus. This is accomplished in 2 ways.
Reading the Bible
The Bible is God’s love letter to us. God uses it to both teach us His principles and to also feed our spiritual man. Jesus said that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. (Matt. 4:4) In order to grow spiritually and to feed your inner man, you need to learn to read the Bible daily. I suggest that you start by reading the book of John, which talks about the life of Jesus, then read the book of Acts which talks about how believers lived in the 1st century.
Talking to Jesus
The way we talk to Jesus is by prayer. You do not need to know how to pray fancy prayers or holy sounding prayers. In fact, I believe God loves honest and simple prayers. Prayer is not just asking for our wishes to be granted, but a conversation from the heart about our struggles and our victories. It is also a time where we express our thankfulness. Prayer also is a time where we learn to hear the still small voice of Jesus in our heart speaking back to us. It is where we learn to have 2 way communication.
Block number 2 – Identifying with Jesus
There comes a time in every relationship when you make it public that you are in a relationship with somebody. If it is a friend, then you introduce them as your friend. If it is a love interest, then you make an announcement that you are a couple of some kind.
The same is true with your relationship with Jesus. Jesus set the example and gave us the command to be baptized. Baptism is the public declaration that you have a personal relationship with Jesus. You are saying to the world that you are a Christian and that you have decided to follow Jesus. It has been the way Christians have made the profession of faith public for over 2000 years. If you would like to know more about water baptism, read these Bible verses about baptism.
The church is the body of Jesus on this earth. Part of identifying with Jesus is identifying with His people. Now as with any family, you do not always like everything your family members do. This is true with your spiritual family as well but just as you don’t forsake your physical family because of a disagreement, neither should you forsake your spiritual family because of this. Part of growing as a Christian is to learn how to overcome these types of things. Your church family has a lot to offer you. They can pray with you and encourage you. There will be people in that church that are more mature than you that can mentor you. If you want to grow as a Christian, then church attendance will help you with that process. If you do not know how to find a good church, then read this article. How to choose a good church.
Block number 3 – Growing into doing the works of Jesus
In your earthly relationships, you do things for your friends and especially your love interests. Us guys call them honey-do lists. LOL Well in your spiritual relationship with Jesus, there will be things you do because you want to please Him and because He asks you to do them. We call this “doing the stuff”. You get to be part of God’s plan to touch people on this earth. It is not enough to just speak the words of Jesus, we need to do the works as well. It is the same with our earthly relationships. It is not enough to tell your wife you love her, you need to show her too.
Becoming empowered to do the works of Jesus.
When Jesus ascended into heaven, He told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they received the power of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:4-8) If we try to do the works of Jesus in our own strength, we will burn out and fail. When we wait for His enabling, then we see people’s lives touched in powerful ways. So the first thing you do is to seek Jesus to send the power of the Holy Spirit. If you want to learn more about this then read my article on The baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Being the hands of Jesus by serving
Jesus told His disciples that the greatest of them would be the servant of all. Jesus modeled servanthood when He was here, even going to the point of washing the disciples feet before He went to the cross. Part of growing as a Christian is becoming like Jesus and allowing ourselves to serve others. Instead of just looking at the church as a place to get your needs met, you will know you are growing when you are seeing the church as a place that you can serve others. The same is true for our communities, families and workplaces.
Being the mouth of Jesus by sharing your faith with others.
Once again this is so much like our earthly relationships. How many of you have found a new friend or a love interest and told your other friends about them? We all do this. Well in our relationship with Jesus, we know we are growing when we tell others of our relationship with Jesus. This really has very little to do with a method as much as it has to do with your own personal relationship. When Jesus answers a prayer of yours, do you share it? Do you tell people how Jesus changed your life and can change theirs too? When you find someone that is going through a trial that you have been through, it is a perfect time to share how Jesus helped you through that trial. It is all just part of expressing what you have experienced and we all know how to do that.
Being the feet of Jesus by giving.
You will never find me trying to coerce money out of people. I leave that for the TV evangelists. What you will find me doing is encouraging people to be generous. Jesus said “Freely you have received, freely give. Your local church provides a lot of benefits to Christians and the community if they are healthy at all. There are missions organizations that take the gospel to people who do not have a local church or group of believers. When you support them, you give feet to your faith. You help somebody go when you can’t. It all has to do with a spirit of generosity. If you would like to learn more about this then read my article on A little boy’s generosity.”
The final step to growing as a Christian
When you have gotten to the point that all these blocks are in place in your life, then you have one final step to continue growing as a Christian. You turn around and start to make disciples. You show others how to put these principles in their place in their life. Jesus not only did good works himself on this earth, but He showed His disciples how to do them as well and that tradition has been passed down from then.
When you have put these basic principles into practice, then show others. Before you go look for other great and wonderful ways to grow, start helping others to grow. Then if you have time, go and learn some more difficult things.