Thursday, May 9, 2013

Growing in Christ Part 1

Some time ago a comment was left for me asking if I would consider doing a study on the first chapter of second Peter. Although it has been some time since the comment was left I have not forgotten about the request, and even went one step further and have started to outline a few teachings anchored in the first fifteen verses of Second Peter, which I’ve entitled ‘Growing in Christ’.

Everybody wants to grow up before their time. They want to mature at an accelerated pace, only to realize later on in life that the growing and maturing process is an enjoyable thing in and of itself, and even a necessary component of a healthy and well-balanced adulthood.

There is a marked difference between growing physically, and growing emotionally and intellectually…between building up our physical man, and maturing one’s knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of the world we live in, the God we serve, and our duty to this awe inspiring God.

Because men often focus on maturing the physical while dismissing the intellectual aspect of their growth, we see many an adult acting like children, unwilling to take responsibility for their actions, or worse, still living in their mother’s basement at thirty five, playing video games and waiting on the next blockbuster motion picture to come out, with no direction in their life or any motivation to do anything about their situation.

Just as we must grow physically, intellectually, and emotionally, we must likewise grow spiritually, and the way we grow spiritually is by growing in Christ.

It is a process, one which has different stages, and as it begins to unfold in our lives it requires patience, humility, and a willingness to submit ourselves in totality to the will of God.

Even though the blueprint of how we can grow in Christ is clearly outlined within the Word, many still fail to do so for various reasons. The most common reason men fail to grow in Christ is because they are unwilling to surrender their all in order to obtain all of Him.

In order for us to grow in Christ and for Christ to grow in us, we must decrease. There is no way around this truth, yet many still attempt to find a middle ground when none exists.

If we do not decrease, Christ cannot increase in us. If we are not emptied out of all we need to be emptied of, Christ cannot fill us with His presence, with His power, and with His Spirit.

As we continue to grow in Christ, as we begin to mature, we likewise begin to see certain things differently than when we were in spiritual infancy.

It’s amazing how one can look back on their childhood, on their adolescence and teenage years, and shake their head as to how utterly foolish they were.

Just recently I was thinking back to when I was around thirteen, and someone had given us some old lawn darts, and a few spare smaller darts as toys. Since my parents didn’t have money to buy us toys, we made the best of what people gave us, and the darts seemed like endless fun.

My brother Sergiu and I began by throwing the lawn darts around, but as that got boring quick, we decided to play dart chicken with the smaller darts.

The way we played dart chicken was by taking off our shoes, standing in the grass, and having one person either pretend to throw the dart at the other, or actually throw it. If you moved your foot, you lost.

Since there is no redeeming quality to the rest of this story as it ends with my brother Sergiu walking into the apartment bleeding all over the shag carpeting with a dart in his foot, I will simply say that looking back at our decision to play dart chicken, I realize it was a very foolish idea that could have ended far worse than it actually did.

Having been only thirteen at the time, the consequences of my brother not moving when I threw the dart never crossed my mind, and being the stubborn soul that he is, my brother never once thought of moving his foot either.

The point is that as we mature our perspective changes, and the way we see and perceive things changes as well. As we grow in Christ our perspective and perception likewise changes, and the closer we draw to Him, the more we become like Him, the more we are refined and perfected.

The passage we will be discussing is the blueprint as to how this refinement takes place, and what we can expect as we add to our faith virtue, to our virtue knowledge, to our knowledge self-control, to our self-control perseverance, to our perseverance godliness, to our godliness brotherly kindness, and to our brotherly kindness love.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.


Barbara said...

Self control is a hard one. You feel like you can control your will but it is almost impossible to control your emotions. You have to catch them before you even start to feel them. If your mind gets confused as to what is right, you can't really catch your heart before it goes out of control.

Then once you do control yourself, you have to be patient to see any good result from it. That gets tiring and you may give up before you get through it.

Temptation is hard to get through. Then if you don't, you may end up losing your faith. I guess you might lose your virtue first. You might ignore you knowledge or make it irrelevant also.

When you want something that you can't have, it is hard. There aren't a lot of good examples in society of people controlling themselves either. It is one thing when you can see clearly why you should, but when you aren't sure, it is very hard.

Anonymous said...

Excellent. More like this, please.

Sherri said...

Thank you very much for considering this study. You have a good memory, but wait until you hit 40. I appreciate all you share, God bless you brother.