Most of us have big dreams of what we want to accomplish in our military career. We raise our hands, take the oath, complete basic and specialty training, and embark on the great adventure of being a warrior! Then reality creeps in. Work stinks, our boss is evil, and our family or other commitments divide our time and our energy. Life hits us with all its responsibilities, challenges, distractions, and frustrations. In too many cases, we stop dreaming. We stop believing. We stop striving. We stop growing.
Tragically, the same thing can happen in our spiritual lives. When we begin a relationship with Jesus, we are like spiritual children. The Bible says we are born again (John 3:3, 7; 1 Peter 1:23). As new Christians, we are immature in our faith. Yet we’re also brimming with potential, enthusiasm, and hope. We want to learn and improve. We want to do great things for God. We want to grow in Jesus. God doesn’t want us to remain spiritual infants (Hebrews 5:11–14). He wants us to mature in the faith—then continue to grow throughout our lives.
Over time, however, the flames of spiritual intensity often falter. We can easily settle in, get comfortable, and turn our attention toward other things. We stop pressing in for more of God. We stop inviting His Spirit to search our lives for areas that need improving. We stop thinking of ourselves as works in progress. We stop relying on the Lord’s strength. And we stop growing.
Most of us, by the time we enter the military, have reached the point of more or less complete physical development. But we will not attain spiritual completion until we reach heaven. Therefore, we must keep growing in Christ. In Philippians 3:12–14, the apostle Paul acknowledged his own need for continued growth. He admitted he hadn’t arrived at a state of perfection. But Paul wasn’t about to get bogged down in complacency. He said he would continue to strive toward the goal of knowing Jesus and His life-giving power.
In John 15:5, Jesus compared Christians to branches and himself to a vine. Any branch that becomes disconnected from the Vine will stop bearing fruit, will wither, and will die. Not only will growth cease if we neglect our relationship with Jesus, but we’re in real danger of dying spiritually.
The Christian life is not static. We’re either moving toward God or slipping away from Him. Without Jesus, our sinful nature draws us toward sin and destruction. As we live for Jesus and pursue Him daily, the Holy Spirit overrules sin’s pull. We’re drawn toward Christ, and we increasingly reflect Him in our words, deeds, and thoughts. Yet we lose ground when we neglect God. We gravitate toward old ways of thinking and behaving. And we open ourselves to grave spiritual peril.
We’re either moving toward God or slipping away from Him.
Our lives don’t have to be a tug-o-war game. We can give ourselves completely to God and invite Him to work in us daily. We can let go of the past, give God the present, and trust Him with the future. We can ask God what He wants us to be when we grow up. And we can join Paul in saying, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14, NKJV).
Here are some steps to help you keep growing in your faith:
- Prayer: There’s no substitute for daily speaking with and listening to God.
- Bible Study: Daily study of God’s Word helps us apply it to our lives.
- Worship: Join a worshiping community of faith—a local chapel or church. God has a place of worship for you within driving distance of wherever you live—find it!
- Fellowship: Spending time with others who share your faith commitment will strengthen and encourage you. It’s not God’s plan to go it alone!
If you do these things faithfully, your devotion and maturity will grow ever stronger.
The content of this article comes from “The Warrior’s Bible” (2014) and is copyrighted by Life Publishers International. Used with permission.