A Christian never stops growing. It is one defining characteristic of those who follow Jesus.
“And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain and when he was set, his disciplines came unto him: And he opened his mouth and he taught them.” – Matthew 5:1-2
Physical growth results from a mixture of hormones, discipline, nutrition, exercise and rest. Similarly, spiritual growth results from the work of the Holy Spirit, increased understanding of and love for God, repentance and obedience. Here are seven traits of a growing Christian.
Ardent love for the truth.
The growing Christian seeks the truth without reserve. He asks questions, expresses doubts, listens to sermons and lectures, reads books, memorizes Scripture, observes other Christians, takes notes and reflects on different points of view.
Supreme love for God.
Ultimately, the growing Christian lives out of his deep love for God. “We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). The growing Christian considers the unfading love God has for him. He considers the kindness and goodness God has shown him. This results in the love of the Christian for God. “Love God” comes first on the Christian’s priority list. This love will kick-start all growth and learning.
Intense desire to know him more.
The Christian also has an insatiable desire to know God more. What pleases him? What does he value? What hurts and angers him? How does he work? How does he speak?
Willingness to make any personal sacrifice in order to learn and grow.
This growth consumes the attention of the Christian. To grow and learn, the Christian must ultimately be willing to throw off anything that stunts his growth. He wakes up early to study the Word of God. He puts the phone down. He doesn’t rush to get through it. He takes his time, slowly digesting the Word of God.
The commitment to grow as fast as he learns.
The growing Christian makes the commitment to line his life up with the Word of God. When the pastor explains that “Love is patient,” the Christian immediately goes out and has more patience with his wife and kids. He has more patience with the clerk at the grocery store. He has more patience when someone cuts him off in traffic. He is committed to applying the Word of God to every aspect or facet of his life.
A fixed purpose of heart to know and to do the whole truth, not just a part.
If a Christian doesn’t kill or steal but lies and hates, he still is not living a holy life before God. The Christian does not have the option of picking some Scriptures and rejecting others. As he is seeking the truth, God will bring sin to his attention. He must repent and commit himself to obedience.
A state of mind that will not divert to make provision for the flesh.
A growing Christian never gives himself an excuse to live in sin. “I know this is true, but…” This is depleting God’s power in his life. It is kicking him off the throne of his life. It gives Satan a foothold to destroy him. “I know this is true, but I’m weak.” Or “I know this is true, but I cannot do that.” Or “I know this is what is right, but I want to do things my own way.” This is a dangerous path that will ultimately lead to destruction and death. Rather, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).