What comes to mind when you hear the word “growth” as it concerns the Christian life?
Maybe you think of it regarding knowledge and how much someone knows about God, the Bible or theology. Perhaps you think of it more about what a person does and how their behavior has been changed during their Christian walk.
But as Pastor Zach shows us in 1 Peter 2, neither of these descriptions are at the foundation of Christian growth. While we often think of growth as knowing and doing, Peter encourages us to consider it as being.
Our identity and what we believe about ourselves shape us more than any other influence in our lives. In a world that is constantly shouting about who we should be, the Christian’s goal is to grab hold of the voice of God and who he says we should be.
As we delve into the concept of Christian growth, Pastor Zach fixes our thoughts on three points to consider: what is Christian growth, why does it matter, and how does it happen?
Above all else, Christian growth involves a shift in identity. It’s about believing that what God says about us is true. And, as we take hold of the truth of that identity, we allow it to transform the way we live our lives.
We tend to individualize our growth. We think that it only affects us, but every decision we make has a ripple effect.
Our growth matters to the people around us. The more we live out our identity, the more we challenge and encourage others to grow with a right view of theirs.
Alternatively, our lack of growth has severe effects on the generations after us who are watching and waiting to be convinced that identity as a child of God has more to offer than the world does.
So, we know that growth is about identity, and we know that our growth or lack thereof has an immense impact on the people around us.
Then, how does growth happen?
Pastor Zach beautifully sums it up with two simple words: through grace. Just as grace paved the way for us to enter the Christian life, it continues to guide us with every step. As stated in 1 Peter 2:10, once we were not a people and did not receive mercy. But, by the grace of God, that all changed when we became children of The Most High.
And the same God who worked this hard to make us Christians will never tire of growing us in our Christian walks.
The challenge for us is to stop resisting him. We must stop believing what the world or other influences say about our identity. We must throw away our scorecards and eliminate the toxic dialogues in our minds telling us we must know more and do more to be worthy.
We need to faithfully inquire of God: What is my story? Who do you say I am?
God’s answers to those questions may surprise us. We are so used to thinking that if God were watching, he would comment on how we should do more or know more. But, that’s not what the Bible shows us at all. God wants us to simply be more of who he created us to be.
Growth is tied to our identity, and God is trustworthy in who he says we are. We are children of God. A chosen race. And, in order to grow, we need to constantly remind ourselves that grace has secured our identity and no amount of knowing or doing could ever matter more than who we become in light of the grace we’ve been given.