â€œGrow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christâ€(2 Peter 3:18). If you havenâ€™t yet experienced it you will soon. There is a day coming when your faith will be tested. Will you find that your faith in Christ is like the Sunday clothes that you wear to church, that you wear on Sunday but then take off for the rest of week? Are you built on the sand or the Rock of Jesus Christ? In our Sunday school class we have been discussing progressive holiness, or sanctification. We have been praying that the Lord would enable us by His Spirit to more and more die to sin, and live unto righteousness. The Scriptures call us to grow. â€œWe beseech you, brethren, that you increase more and moreâ€¦â€(1 Thess 4:10). When we grow in holiness it is evidence of our spiritual health. It is like the growth of a child. If the child is not growing in size and in strength it is concerning. But if the child demonstrates an increase in muscle and in mass it is a sign of the childâ€™s health.
Here are six marks of Christian growth draw from the wisdom of J.C. Ryle that we can prayerfully pursue each day for our spiritual health.
- Increase of Humility: It is the holy person who feels their sin and sees their unworthiness more and more as each year passes. Job said, â€œI am vile.â€ Abraham said, â€œI am dust and ashes.â€ David said, â€œI am a worm.â€ Paul said, â€œI am the chief of sinners.â€ These men and others who seek holiness see the holiness and perfection of God and see themselves as less with every passing moment.
- Increase of Faith and Love: The holy person rests upon and rejoices in such a Savior as Jesus. This person sees more and more the love, power, heart, priesthood, and kingship of Jesus. The holy person loves Jesus more with each passing day!
- Increase of Holy Living and Conversation: The holy person is being conformed more to the image of God to follow and trust Him. This person is growing to be more careful with their temper, words, and actions.
- Increase of Spiritual Taste and Mind: The holy person takes more interest in spiritual things. The holy personâ€™s affection is not drawn towards fashion or amusements but to spiritual companions and conversations. The holy person is faithful in their duties on earth, but loves best the spiritual things.
- Increase of Charity: The holy person has love for all men, but especially the brethren. They are generous, thoughtful, tenderhearted, and considerate. They bear and forbear rather than quarrel.
- Increase in Zeal and Diligence for Lost Souls: The holy person takes more of an interest in the salvation of sinner and takes efforts to spread the gospel. The holy person is willing to give, pray, speak, and visit.
The ability to grow in grace is a gift of God. But God also uses means to grow us. We take advantage of those means of grace to grow in holiness. God uses the means of prayer in our lives as Hebrews 4:14-16 reminds us, â€œSince then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.â€ God also uses Scripture and our praying over it for understanding, our study of it (Acts 17:10-11), our memorizing of it (Psalm 119:9-11), our meditation on it (Psalm 1:2), and our application of it (James 1:21-24). God gives to His people the tools of regular public worship with its preaching and sacraments to help us grow us.
Our Lord Jesus calls us to be holy and to use the means He gives to receive His grace.
Lord help us!