What is spiritual growth? Is it growing in spiritual powers and gifts of the Spirit, or is it becoming 'holier' and doing all the good good things? What is good? The thing is, we are not called to conform to a concept called 'good'. Christ is our good, Christ is what we must conform to.
Spiritual growth is not measured by some man-made concept or standard. No! Spiritual growth is measured by how much we become more like Christ for He is the Son in whom God is pleased. He is the model and the perfection. He is the height of maturity.
"until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." (Eph 4:13).
Becoming mature is attaining the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. This Christ is the standard for maturity and we are to grow into the stature of His fullness. What are you growing into? Are you growing into a teaching, a concept taught by your pastor, some virtues of your own understanding, the stature of a pastor or some spiritual leader, a religious system or church construct? Each and every one should ask themselves these questions.
Some Christians feel that they are growing when they become workers in church, or when they attain certain spiritual gifts. Some even measure growth and maturity by their ability to mimic their pastor's charisma on the pulpit and quoting a lot of scripture offhand just as he does. This reminds me of someone I met. I kept trying to point this fellow to the person of Christ but he kept thinking about how he could get to a place where he would be able to quote a lot of scripture. Oh how he desired that! He just craved the ability to quote many verses of the scripture. He was fascinated by people who do so and he believed this to be maturity.
It is a sad thing what the flesh does to man — how it blinds him from what really matters. And no matter how much you try to point man to what matters, he soon gets distracted, pursuing some other thing he erroneously counts lofty and profitable. He attends a worship concert with the intention of spending time in God's presence to worship Him. But not too long after the worship starts, he begins to adore the singer — the beautiful voice of the singer — the well-played drums, the sound of the music, the lighting of the stage, etc. He is distracted and trapped in the folly of the flesh.
Our focus is Christ! So I'll ask you: Can you keep that focus? Can you keep your eyes fixed on Him? Brother, you've got to keep your eyes fixed on Him as you pursue Him! That is the only way. He is our standard; the One we are to measure up to. We must become full of Christ — conformed to His stature. This is the path of spiritual growth: it is becoming more and more empty that you might be filled with Christ. It is being conformed to His death that you might walk in the power of His resurrection life. It is decreasing that Christ might increase. Yes, it is losing yourself for the sake of Christ that you might become truly one with Him and manifest His fullness. Oh not the fullness of a gift or the fullness of a teaching or the fullness of some virtue. It must be the fullness of this person, this Christ.
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