I’m going to assume that you are a believer in Christ and that you have plans to travel. You want to travel beyond your present level of growth and maturity in Christ. Let me give you a word of encouragement—if your desire for growth seems at this moment unfulfilled and doubtful, take heart! Take heart that what you desire has already been planned for and provisioned by God, and He will bring it about. You are a Christian road warrior—even though you might not have known it yet!
If you are reading this book you consider Christian growth as something worth studying and pursuing by engaging your mind. Good. That is a very good sign. It is important to consider well, to do a good job of thinking about growth in Christ.
I am going to suggest that you use something called theology to help with the job of thinking. Let me unpack the big-ticket word—theology—for you. We need to think in an organized and consistent Scriptural way about growth in Christ. Theology isn’t any more than the attempt to be consistent and orderly in how we read Scripture, what we believe concerning it and how we respond to it.
A key question is this: have we been looking at the Bible to learn how to grow as Christians or making it up on our own? We need to reconcile our thoughts to God’s eternal Word. We need to get it from the Book.
Growth in Christ was on the heart and in the mind of the Apostle Peter when he wrote his two letters that are part of the New Testament. Peter closes his second letter in fact with this injunction:
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
The basis for Peter’s understanding of growth was what he had himself experienced. Peter was once himself a tiny seedling in Christ but became a tall oak of discipleship; a living demonstration and example of what happens when the Gospel of Christ reigns in the heart of a Christian disciple.
Chapter one of Peter’s second letter contains some very significant teaching on Christian growth. In a very densely packed portion of Scripture, Peter gives us some excellent teaching on a very important part of the Christian proposition—that we were intended to grow in Christ.
My purpose is to open up just a portion of these words to you. At first read the Bible passage under consideration may seem flowery and lightweight. A cursory look would leave us with the impression that it is nothing more than a pleasant bouquet of religious niceties. I believe, however, that this particular portion of the Biblical testimony has something powerful, unique and extremely relevant to us, even if it will take a little digging beneath the surface.
What often hinders our development in Christ is that we are unable to connect into one coherent view the truth of all of the various strands of what we have been taught concerning Christian growth. It is my hope that this writing will help you to connect the dots.