How do we know if we are growing in our relationship with Christ?

Posted: December 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

How do we know if we are growing in our relationship with Christ?

For every Christ follower that desires to be transformed by the power of God that is an important question. It is also an important question for the church, especially in a church culture that heavily celebrates salvation, but does very little to celebrate spiritual growth. This can leave the impression with a lot of people that once you “pray the prayer” you are good. I have witnessed first hand how dangerous it is for us to celebrate the starting line of a relationship with Jesus Christ like it is the finish line. Salvation is not a momentary decision that now all of a sudden makes you “arrived” or “complete”.

I recall of a conversation with a guy who would call himself a “Christ follower”. He was in church every week and faithfully serving. He was living and sleeping with a woman that was not his wife. Left her and starting doing the same with another women who was married. When I brought it up with him there was no conviction that this was sin, but rather, he was offended and continued his behavior and celebration of this sin on social media. While this is an extreme circumstance it underscores what I am seeing from many in this current church culture that celebrates salvation, but not holiness. Salvation comes through repentance and submission of life and will to follow Jesus Christ as Savior and, don’t miss this, Lord. Making Jesus Lord in every area of  life is what the Bible describes as “transformation” or “sanctification”. Transformation occurs along the journey of life as we willingly submit to conform to the nature and character of Jesus Christ.

So how can we know if we are growing in our relationship with Christ? I wanted to try to make this helpful as possible so we could examine the difference between a life controlled by flesh vs. one controlled by the Spirit.

Spirit-Filled Mind Sin-Filled Mind
Forgiveness Unforgiveness
Humility Pride
Hope Evil Thoughts
Thankfullness Ingratitude
Confidence Covetousness
Faithful Faithless
Impartial Arrogance
Gratitude Greed
Appreciation Heartless
Willingness Selfish-Ambition
Self-control Haughty

Spirit-Filled Emotions Sin-Filled Emotions
Love Hatred
Joy Anger
Peace Rebellion
Patience Bitterness
Long-suffering Unloving Attitude
Gentle Spirit Jealousy
Gladness Malice
Compassion Bad Temper

Spirit-Filled Mouth Sins of the Mouth
Truthfulness Lying
Praise Slander
Tact Complaining
Thankfulness Disputing
Gentle Answer Yelling; Quarrelsome
Encouraging Backbiting
Pleasant Words Gossip

Spirit-filled Behavior Sins of Behavior
Kindness Fornication
Gentleness Adultery
Courage Brutality
Righteousness Murder
Self-Control Revelry
Obedience Drunkedness
Cooperation Stealing
Servant Violence
Submissive Favoritism

I love the way Paul described this process in us that changes our old self (the right column) to the new man (the left column). Phil. 3:13-16 “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule,[a] let us be of the same mind.”

It doesn’t happen in day and it doesn’t happen if you are not pursuing being transformed by Christ.

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