But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18 NIV
Not many people can say that on the day they were saved, someone explained the steps to spiritual growth. Unfortunately, some believers never hear how to develop in their relationship with the Lord. Since none of us matures as a Christian without taking action, Peter instructs believers, “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2Pe 3:18).
Then how are we to grow? Second Peter 1:3 promises, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life.” It is God who transforms us into his image, but it is our responsibility to implement all that he teaches us. Second Peter 1:5-7 continues, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.”
The Bible gives us powerful principles about how to do so:
First, we are responsible for renewing our minds (Ro 12:2). Though God saves us and gives us a new spirit, it is our duty to control our thoughts and focus our minds on what honors him, so that our minds can be transformed. Therefore, we must meditate on the Word, considering what it means and applying the truth we discover to our lives.
Second, we must be ready to admit our failures and assume responsibility for them. When we deny our sins, we delay our spiritual growth. But when we confess our transgressions, the opposite happens – we mature because we admit our dependence upon God. John tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1Jn 1:9).
The third step naturally follows the second – after confession should come repentance. This is more than acknowledging wrongdoing or promising to try harder. Repentance means we commit to making an about-face and heading in the opposite direction from our sin. Paul taught, “Repent and turn to God and demonstrate [your] repentance by [your] deeds” (Ac 26:20). Instead of behavior that is unbecoming to a believer, the fruit of the Spirit produced in us – “Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal 5:22-23).
God’s ultimate goal is for all believers to become more Christ-like. That happens only when, through faith, we obey his commands and implement his principles.
Which of the 3 principles above is hardest for you?