When confronted with our short-comings, all of us have said: “Well, I’m not perfect! ”. The bad news is that God requires perfection of us (Matthew 5:48). The good news is that God intends to make all of his children perfect (Romans 8:28-30; James 1:2-4). If we will cooperate with God’s process— growing through difficulties rather than grumbling through them—then God will make us “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”. At the moment we trust Christ as savior, God credits his perfect righteousness to us. Then, progressively throughout our lives, he makes us increasingly like Christ. Some day, when we’re with him in heaven, we’ll be remade perfectly into the image of Christ. Discipleship can be likened to a stream, and God has given us three resources for making progress down the “stream of discipleship”: his Word, his Spirit, and his people. When we hit the “rapids” of life, whenever we face an obstacle, there is the potential for capsize in the Christian life. In those situations, we apply the same three resources God has given us, but we apply them in a focused way. We call this “biblical counseling” and it is nothing other than “focused” discipleship (Romans 15:14). Now we’ll turn our attention to the “general” stream of discipleship. This is generally how we grow, day in, day out, year in, year our…for the rest of our lives. As you worship with other believers, hear God’s Word preached, study it yourself on your own and in small groups, apply it in the power of the Holy Spirit, as “iron sharpens iron” in small groups we all help each other, slowly but surely, become transformed into the image of Christ. That’s the general stream of discipleship. The diagram on the following page shows what you can do to cooperate with God and make maximum progress in being transformed. If you can remember three words (“know”, “grow”, and “show”)—and do three actions related to each of them (1 Timothy 4:7)—then you will be well on your way to becoming “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”.
- KNOW: Knowing God personally is foundational. Without a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ (John 3:1-21), all you have is dead religion (2 Timothy 3:5; 2 Corinthians 11:3-4). Explore “Digging Deeper in Your Daily Quiet” time for those actions you can do to cooperate with God and thus to accelerate growth and change.
- SHOW: We show our faith to others when we serve other believers and build redemptive relationships with those who don’t yet know Christ personally (1 Timothy 4:12; Matthew 5:14-16).
- GROW: We grow in our faith as we apply biblical truth in the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 3:18). To “delude” means to “deceive”; have you ever been “deluded” about something? But it’s one thing to be deluded by someone else —but many people delude themselves! (James 1:22). Many people say: “I obey the Ten Commandments.”—but they can’t even recite them! That’s delusional—and they’re doing it to themselves. James tells us to “prove” ourselves to be doers of the Word—not just to claim it. “Sonya”, a TCCer who gave me permission to tell her story, is a single mom of two kids, one of whom is handicapped. About ten years ago her husband abandoned them, and shortly after that Sonya found TCC. TCCer Debora Robinson, met with Sonya, shared the gospel with her and she trusted Christ (“KNOW”). Sonya’s Story: Sonya said, “From my church background, I had trouble believing that it was as simple as trusting Christ—there was nothing I had to do.” Sonya then got into a Bible study Debora was leading. Together they studied truths from God’s Word which counteract the lies we commonly believe, lies such as: “My value is based upon my performance.” and “I must achieve in order to gain God’s acceptance.” and “When I sin, I must feel shame and hide.” From that study, Sonya experienced a ton of healing and growth. After that, Sonya got into a Bible study Tricia was leading on the Gospel of John. When they were studying John 9, which records Jesus healing a man who had been blind from birth. Jesus’ disciples voiced a common misconception of suffering, believing that it always is the result of sin in our lives. As Sonya studied Jesus’ response, she burst out in tears of relief. You see, her mother-in-law had always told her that her son’s handicap must be the result of sin or wickedness in Sonya’s life. Jesus’ words of truth set her free. The floodgates opened and the pent-up pain of her seventeen year struggle were gone! (“GROW”). Sonya has been reaching out to her sisters who do not know Christ personally. One of them has been particularly resistant, but at Thanksgiving said to her: “You’ve changed so much I don’t know who you are—give me something to read!” So Sonya told her to read the Gospel of John (“SHOW”). Sonya says: “In order to make ends meet I sell stuff on Craig’s List. I had a guitar in my attic that I listed for $125.00. A young man insisted on giving me $200.00 for it. I wracked my brain asking God “why”. The next at Food Lion I pulled up next to a pickup truck with three young kids waiting for their parents. Hooked to the pickup was a trailer with a dirt bike. Those kids and I talked for a bit about riding (my son loved to do the same sport). I asked them what kind of gear they had, and the oldest said “none”. I happened also to be selling all of my son’s old motorcycle gear. I told them to tell their parent to wait I had something at home for them. I had enough stuff at home to slap safety gear on all three kids—helmets, chest protectors gloves, knee pads—and all the right size. I ran home, loaded the car, and gave it away.” Like Sonya, in order to grow in your faith, you’ll need to “Know-Grow-Show”.
Application / Challenge
- If you are not currently in a Community Group, join us February 22nd or let us know you are interested here.
- Work carefully through “Digging Deeper in Your Daily Quiet Time” (pages 3-4 of Talking Points, Walking Points) to understand how you can “Know”, “Grow”, and “Show” your faith.
- If you feel a little “stuck” in your Christian life—let TCC’s FREE Biblical Counseling Ministry help you. Just write to: firstname.lastname@example.org. And consider joining us for this year’s Counseling & Discipleship Training. Just go to TCC.org, and search for the keyword: “Counseling & Discipleship Training”.