Monday, February 2, 2009
Growing in Christ is a Choice
A key arena in which we have the power to make real choices is in growing spiritually. Spiritual growth follows repentance. The enemy will do his worst to keep us from getting saved, but if that happens, he changes his tactics. Now he will do everything to keep us from growing in Christ so that we can be effective in building His kingdom. He hates what the theologians call "progressive sanctification," and what the Scriptures tell us is becoming more like Christ as we seek to know Him more and, by the Spirit, sin less. See, for example, these Scriptures: John 17:17,; 2 Corinthians 3:18: Romans 12:2; Ephesians 5:26; Philippians 1:6. Elaine received Christ as Savior when she was sixteen; for the next two years, however, her spiritual growth was slow and sporadic. When she entered college she almost forgot she was a Christian. She earned her master's degree in education and landed the teaching position of her dreams. However, being an educator didn't bring the satisfaction she desired. She came to my office within weeks of being "dumped" by the man she was engaged to. "I know I'm a Christian," Elaine stated in the first session, "but the Christian life doesn't work for me." She freely admitted that she did not read the Bible and rarely prayed. She also revealed that she struggled with bitterness toward her ex-fiance and was addicted to cigarettes. As I shared principles of freedom with her, the Lord opened her eyes and heart. She repented of pride (running her own life) and bitterness. She sought the Lord's forgiveness for harming the Lord's temple through tobacco abuse. She asked the Lord to take back the ground she had given to the enemy. Back home, she made Bible reading and prayer a daily part of her life. The Lord led her to a local church with a dynamic singles ministry. "I have been walking with the Lord for three years," she later told me," and He is changing my life. I am like an onion-He is peeling off the old life a layer at a time. But with each layer He removed, He's added to my life Christian virtue, increased godly desires, and greater knowledge of Himself. The Lord is doing what I am not capable of doing myself. He is causing me to grow into His likeness." Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.