Growing for His glory
You already know these things, dear friends. So be on guard; then you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen. 2 Peter 3:17-18
God, through the Apostle Peter gave his final admonition, urging Christians to continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of God. Growing into Christ will give God glory and honor now and forever. Christians are called to grow in every aspect of their life to attain Christlikeness. “...growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church” (Ephesians 4:15). It was by His grace that individuals are ushered in to His kingdom. As the new life started, it could only grow in the Word. “Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment” (1 Peter 2:2). Every time that you are confronted by God through His Word, the receptiveness of your heart will determine your response. Jesus Christ told the parable of the Sower where He used the seed planted as representation of His Word (see Luke 8). If your heart is like the compacted ground, hardened by the sin of bitterness and unforgiveness, you will be unable to receive a message from God. Though you hear the words of the message, you will remain unchanged. If your heart is like the shallow soil on top of a rock, you will accept God’s word in your mind, but the truth will not penetrate your heart to make a difference in your actions. A heart like thorny soil is a life that is distracted by the cares of the world. When you are after the pursuit of earthly pleasures, it will prevent God’s word from taking hold and producing righteousness. The heart that is represented by the good soil receives a word from God, applies it, and this results to a great harvest. This is the heart that Jesus desires in us, for the fruit will be a life characterized by Christlikeness. Any time you expose yourself to the study of the word of God, whether through personal Bible reading, group study, in prayer, or worship service, your acceptance of His word is dependent on how you have cultivated your heart. “‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.’ (Hosea 10:12). Growing in Christ should not be an option to a believer. You have to develop a heart that is like good soil willing to respond to God’s command found in His word. Cultivate within you the appetite for His word. Meditate on God’s word until it enters deep into your heart and not just your mind. When you read or hear a word from God, apply it to your life and let God bring His word into reality in your life (Gal. 6:9). Guard your lifestyle and see to it that you don’t devote your energy to worldly cares and pursuits. Carnality in a Christian’s life is a sign that you are not growing in His word. The state of your heart will respond on the way you cultivate it. You cannot assume that just because you are receptive to God’s word yesterday that it will guarantee that it is receptive today. Like a child, you have to feed from His word regularly so that you are prepared to live your life for His glory.