I often teach on a variety of subjects, but I believe my primary calling is to help Christians grow up and mature in Christ and really begin to enjoy the great life He has in store for them.
I honestly think one of the saddest things in the world is for someone to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior, but then never grow past that point and learn how to receive all God’s promises.
Yes, it’s so wonderful to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ and know we will spend eternal life with Him after we die. However, the Lord also has so many great things planned for us while we are here on this earth!
Growing Strong from the Inside Out
As a young woman, I went to church for years, but I really didn’t know much about spiritual maturity. I loved God with all of my heart, but I wasn’t changing—I was still as critical, judgmental and rebellious as I always was. And even though I knew my life should be getting better, I was still miserable from dealing with all of the same problems.
I believe this is one of Satan’s greatest strategies. If he can’t keep people from hearing the Gospel and accepting Christ, he will do everything he can to make sure they never grow spiritually and experience the peace and joy that’s promised to them in the Bible.
You see, when we’re born again, the Holy Spirit comes to live in our heart—God plants a seed of everything He is in our spirit. He instantaneously deposits inside of us everything we need to live a great life.
For instance, Galatians 5:22-23 says ...the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control...
Did you know all of these things already exist on the inside of you? You may wonder, Well, if that’s the case, then why aren’t I experiencing any of it in my life?
Well, when it comes to the maturity process, we have a part to play. Our part is to cooperate with God to cultivate and develop His character in our lives so we can experience growth and become more like Him. How do we do that? It all begins by spending regular time in God’s Word.
Sowing the Seed of God’s Word
Hebrews 4:12 says ...the Word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective.] It is sharper than any two-edged sword....
When we spend time in God’s Word, we are spending time with God. His Word changes us—it changes how we think and how we act. It changes how we see God, ourselves and the world around us.
I want you to take a moment and read Romans 12:2 with me. Read it slowly and allow it to get deep down inside of you. It’s a scripture that changed my life, and I know it can do the same for you:
And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].
You see, God has a good and acceptable and perfect plan for our lives, but we must renew our minds with God’s Word before we can experience it!
Patience in the Process
It’s important to remember that growing spiritually is a process. When I first began to read and study God’s Word, I immediately saw things I needed to change. For a while, I felt guilty and condemned that I wasn’t “measuring up.”
However, God helped me to understand that He never shows us these things to condemn us and make us feel guilty. He convicts us of our behavior in order to help us grow and come up higher in that area.
For example, I was extremely rebellious in the early years of my marriage. Because my father sexually abused me growing up, I developed a distrust of men. I vowed that no man would ever again push me around.
But as I learned God’s Word, I saw that my behavior toward my husband, Dave, was wrong. The Lord was asking me to walk in love with Dave in my speech, attitudes and actions. This was easier said than done! However, God always gives us the grace to do what He is asking us to do. He doesn’t expect us to change ourselves—only God can change us!
So, little by little, by God’s grace, I began to change and experience growth. The Lord transformed me from being rude, critical, harsh and rebellious into someone who’s actually very nice! But it was a process—it didn’t happen overnight.
Not Perfect, but Changing
Look at 2 Corinthians 3:18. It says, we are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory...
The Lord changes us a little at a time. None of us will ever be perfect until we get to Heaven, and that’s okay. But as long as we’re here on this earth, God desires for us to continually cooperate with Him to learn and grow.
As we do—as we continue to grow spiritually and change “from glory to glory”—we will experience the incredible peace, joy and fulfillment that only God can give us. And we will show the world around us what God is really like.