Growing in God's Grace
Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.
An important message for the New Year is “Growing in God’s Grace.” Little children love to hear how much they have grown physically. Although physical growth is important, spiritual growth should take precedence and should be evident in our lives. We are to grow mentally, physically, socially, and spiritually. How much have you grown?
We need to learn more. When we are not willing to learn more about God, we become stagnant. In Philippians 1:9-11, Paul prays: “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” Paul desires that we know God’s will. Colossians 1:9-11: “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness.” Learning is a process that requires diligence. 2 Peter 1:5-8: “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
We are the temple of God, and our body belongs to God. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” A proper diet, exercise, and rest are important. 1 Corinthians 9:25: “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” We are to be temperate in all things.
We should be kinder to our friends by praying for them and thanking God for our friendships. Philippians 1:3-5: “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now.”
We also need to reach out and esteem others by putting them first. Philippians 2:2-4: “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”
We need to grow spiritually. 2 Peter 3:18: “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”We should spend more time in prayer. 1 Thessalonians 5:17: “Pray without ceasing.” This means we should always have an attitude of prayer.
We should spend more time reading the Bible. Acts 17:11 gives us an example of the Bereans who searched the Scriptures daily to see if what they heard was true. We are to be more noble than the world by understanding and applying Scripture to our daily lives.
We should give more money to the Lord’s work. God loves a cheerful, consistent giver. We should be good stewards of what the Lord has given to us. 2 Corinthians 9:6-11: “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”
We should learn to resist temptation. Philippians 2:12: “Work out (live out) your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Watching our attitudes and not allowing sin to hold us back is important. Have you ever tried to row a boat with an anchor dragging behind? Sin is an anchor that detracts from our spiritual walk, hinders relationships, and dishonors God. God wants to work in our lives that we may “be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.” (Philippians 2:1-16). Romans 6:12-13: “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” God can deliver us from the power of sin, so we can become the servants of righteousness. This is not accomplished in our own strength, but by allowing God to work in our lives. Our families are affected by the choices we make and the way we live our lives.