I am a Calvinist, theologically speaking, and so to say something like, "I've attributed to my spiritual growth" is borderline blasphemous in some circles. Let me clarify what I mean. I believe God is the author of faith. My questions above are seeking to find out what actions of mine the Lord uses to effect my growth. I mean, human beings have minds and we must be able to comprehend things in order to put them into practice in our lives. God does not just wave his hand and 'poof', your conformed to Christ. I do not believe we ought to be waiting for God to 'change' us, before we begin trying to live right before Him. I think that we ought to be praying for God to conform us to the image of His son, Jesus Christ. And yet, can we just say the words "God, conform me to the image of Christ" and without thinking about our own particular sins and lifestyle really mean it? I do not believe so. This prayer must be accompanied by deep rooted convictions that something is not right in your own life.
Desiring to be conformed to the image of Christ is not just something that you can do without truly and seriously considering how you live your life. This is not a one time thing that you do prior to conversion. Conformity to Christ is a life long process and so then must be the thinking of one who comes to Christ for conformity. One must come to the Lord, after having thought about the waywardness of a particular aspect of their life and broken over their actions associated with that aspect, and ask Him out of that brokenness to be changed. This is the point of John 15:7
"If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you."The crucial point of this passage is your abiding in Christ and His words abiding in you. If His words are abiding in You, you will be asking for the 'right' things and He will answer your prayers. We would all agree with this (I'm assuming) and yet have we given any thought as to how to do this? How do we 'abide in Him' and how to we get His words to abide in us? If we cannot answer these questions, then we cannot seek for it. We might say, "Read the Bible" or "Pray" or do some other religious practice and while it is true that these things must be done as a help toward spiritual growth, it is not the actual doing of these things that accomplishes it. This is why we encourage one another not to just do a Bible Reading Plan just to check the box and say, "I've read the Bible for the day". It is because the answer is not found in the doing of this practice, even though the doing is a part of it, it is not the vital part of it.
The answer is 'Thinking'. Go back and read all of the words highlighted in bold. There is great emphasis put on thinking and yet we must first answer to ourselves this question, prior to answering any of the others: "Do I take enough time to think about my life." If not, we may get all the other questions wrong.
I may continue this line of thought in future blogs. Please leave a comment and let me know what your thoughts are concerning this.