The Characteristics of a Growing Christian

The Characteristics of a Growing Christian
(a devotional used in the pattern for Living theme)

Every Christian, if he is growing, will have certain characteristics. 

Faith or faithfulness – our spiritual escellence.  It is defined as loyalty, trustworthiness, or steadfastness.  If we say a person is faithful, we may think that person is reliable.  It applies not only to the Christian’s behavior in respect to people, but also our behavior toward God.  1 Timothy 3:11 Even so [must their] wives [be] grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.Revelation 2:10… be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. What are areas in our lives where we need faithfulness

  • as wives (Titus 2:4)
  • as mothers (Titus 2:4)
  • our homes (Proverbs 31)
  • money management – Do we use the money God has given us wisely, or do we spend it on a lot of unnecessary things?
  • daily devotions – Do we spend time in God’s Word and in prayer to Him daily?  If a plant does not get the proper amount of nourishment, it will eventually wither and die if there is any growth at all.  If there has been not growth to begin with, it will just die and not grow at all.
  • church – God requires us to be faithful in church.  Are we in church each time there is a service?

Struggles for faithfulness
Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

  1. Our Flesh – physical struggle – Tiredness tells us “I can’t” Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
  2. Laziness – you just “Don’t want to do it” I am sure there are a lot of things we all have that we don’t want to do, cleaning the house, cooking, getting involved in a ministry of the church, disciplining our children at times.  Lazines may say I don’t want to do ti, but the Bible says to set your affection on things above not on things of the earth. Col 3:2
  3. Hopelessness – “it doesn’t matter if I do it”
  4. Procrastination – “I’ll do it later”  How many things have we put off that we could have done today?
  5. Rationalization – “Someone else will do it
  6. Apathy – “I don’t care if I do it”  A spiritual numbness has crept in and corrupted the good God intends for our life.  There is hope for someone with apathy.  We must force ourselves to not look at our own life, but look at what Christ has doen for us.  His faithfulness to come to earth anddie for our sins.  We need to look heavenward and foolow our Savior who it says in Mark 10:45 came to minister to others not to be ministered to.  Mark 10:45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
  7. Rebellion – “I won’t do it”  Proverbs 29:1 ¶ He, that being often reproved hardeneth [his] neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.   1 Samuel 15:23 For rebellion [is as] the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness [is as] iniquity and idolatry.   Search your heart to see if you have any of these attitudes in your life.  God will give us the strength to have faithfulness in our lives.

How do we be faithful?

Knowledge – mental excellence

How do we get knowledge?  Studying God’s word.  A person can study books and other intellectual pursuits but he does not have spiritual knowledge.  spiritual Knowledge comes from the Holy Sprit and it is focused on the Word of God.  By studying God’s Word, meditating on it, listening to good preaching and teaching and then going back and studying more about what we heard  Proverbs 1:22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?  v 29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:  Proverbs 2:10  When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;  Proverbs 1:7  The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of knowledge: [but] fools despise wisdom and instruction. Meekness – defined as gentlenss, humble, a clam temper of mind, not easily provoked.

Matthew 5:5 Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 
1 Peter 3:4
  But [let it be] the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, [even the ornament] of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

A good example of gentleness is to think of an animal that is gentle; it has been tamed and brought under control.  The word tame is the opposite of wild, describes someone controlled by another.  It should be our desire to be controlled by our Master.

Matthew 21:5 …Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek,…
Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

We can follow Jesus’ example of meekness when like Him we find shelter in God and commit our way to Him

In the view of the world, meekness probably seems like weakness, but as Christians we know it takes great strength to produce the fruit of meekness.  Meekness means we have a submissiveness to the will of God.

A good example of meekness is Hannah.  thank of what she went through year after eyar from her husband’s other wife because she had not children.  What would you have done in her situation?  1 Samuel 1:6-7 And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb. And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.  Year after year she was provoked.  Hannah chose to just take it and turn to the Lord.  this too is what you and I should do.

Mary of Bethany is another good example.  Mary annointed Jesus’ feet with the costly perfume and used her hair to wipe his feet.  Judas criticized her in front of everyone.  Here she was worshiping her Savior and she was criticized publicly.  how would you respond?  Mary responded with godly silence.

How do we walk in meekness?

  1. Accept whatever God allows to come into your life.  Psalms 37:6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
  2. Psalms 37:7  Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
  3. Pray
  4. Refuse to grumble and complain.
  5. Don’t manipulate.  Allow god to take care of the problem for you.

Temperance – Self Control

What is Self Control? It is the ability to keep one’s self in check.  It is the controlling power of the will under the operation of the spirit of God.  It includes our passions, appetites, pleasures, desires, and impulses.  Everything we see, hear, touch, think about, and hunger for.  In galatians 5 Paul lists the works of the flesh.  we as Christians should not want any of these things in our lives.  But, only the Spirit’s self control can help us avoid them.  It is like our flesh, and the Spirit are in a tug of war.

When is Self Control Needed?
  Someone has said, If you are alive, you are tempted.  Thinking of this, we need God’s help each and every day when we find ourselves being tempted.  Self control often relates to the body which I Cor. 6:19 says is the temple of the Holy Spirit, therefore we need to keep our bodies in subjection to the Lord.  Thnk of it like this:

If the body is the temple, then the soul is the priest of the temple and should control the temple.  Therefore, the soul should govern what the body does.  When the body is tempted by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, the sould must say no!  That is self-control.  That body is disciplined by the soul to glorify God in all its’ actions.

What Does Self-Control Do?  When we are walking by the spirit, his self-control will be evident inour lives and we will reflect these strengths:

  1. controls and checks the self
  2. restrains the self
  3. disciplines and masters the self
  4. holds in and commands the self
  5. says NO! to self

What does Self-Control Not Do?

  1. yield to temptation
  2. give in to desires
  3. participate in sin
  4. indulge intself
  5. satisfy itself

How do we nurture Self-Control?

  1. Begin with Christ
  2. Monitor your input   Psalms 101:3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; [it] shall not cleave to me.
  3. Stay busy.  Proverbs 31:27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
  4. Say No!
  5. Pray!!