Topic 2: How do people grow? Question: Do more research into the four models of spiritual growth discussed in How People Grow & give a more detailed explanation & support for each of the models. Then, in light of your research, which model(s) of how people grow would you choose & why? (If the group cannot come to a consensus, feel free to have different group members each express their own opinion)
Spiritual maturity is learning how to walk in obedience to God. It is making the choice to live by God's viewpoint rather than your human viewpoint. Galatians 5:16 and 25 give the key, "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature... Since we live by the Spirit let us keep in step with the Spirit."
Learn to walk in the Holy Spirit's control by studing God's word. 2 Timothy 2:15;3:16-17 instruct us, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth... All scripture os God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebriking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." By choosing to apply God's word in everyday circumstances, as you walk step-by-step, applying God's word to your life, you will grow spiritually.
The process of growth involves being taught and even corrected by God as we read His word (Hebrew 12:4-13). Many people continue to grow by learning and being mentored by others who are well instructed in God's word.
Confidence is another evidence of Christian growth. Confidence is knowing who God is, and desiring His will and plan for our lives. Confidence is understanding that God will be with us- He will never leave us or forsake us. He is there to help us (Hebrews 13:5-6). Confidence is knowing that God will fulfill His promises of giving believers eternal life (2 Peter 3:9). Our hope lies in what Christ has done, and not is our own works (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Confidence also involves knowledge about God and His powerful ways of working in us. We know that when we blow it, we have a mediator and when we confess our wrongs we will be forgiven (Hebrew 4:4-16; 1 John 1:8-10). God gives us confidence to trust him to get us through the circumstances and challenges of life.
Many of us have trouble with the concept of sin. It is difficult to accept that even when we are trying to be good, there are areas of our life that remain sinful. We may still harbor lusts, or tell lies, or make hurtful comments to others.
Hard as it is to accept our failures, it may be even harder to confess them- even privately in prayer to God. Clearly, however, that is what God requires. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Confession of sin alone is not all God requires. He asks that we repent, that we turn away from our sinful activities, and turn instead to follow him.
Repentance doesn't mean we become perfect. God understands that even at our best, we may backslide at times. However, every time we seek His forgiveness, we will receive it.
There is even better news for those who have learned to confess their sins, to repent and to turn to God. The Bible says Jesus Himself will come to our aid. "My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense- Jesus Christ, the Righteous one. He is the atoning sacrifice for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:1).
When sins are forgiven by God, the Bible says that God does not hold those sins against us. Psalm 103:11-12 says, "For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us".
Sanctification is an inward spiritual process whereby God brings about holiness and change in the life of a Christian by means of the Holy Spirit. The effects of living in a fallen world have harmed everybody differently. We all face different issues, struggle with sins, and past hurts of varying degrees, hindering our ability to live the life God desires for us. Once we accept Jesus Christ into our lives, the Holy Spirit enters our life to start a transformation process. He convicts us on areas that need to be changed, helping us to grow in holiness. We begin to view the world, people, and personal difficulties from a more biblical perspective. Our choices begin to be motivated by love and truth and not selfishness. The transformation process may be painful, but it is always motivated by God's love for us. God promises in His word to not give us more than we are able to handle (Corinthians 10;13). This is the working process of sanctification in the life of every believer. Though the process is personal for each individual, the end goal is to prevent sin and produce spiritual growth. We will never be sinless in this life. In fact, the Bible warns against such false teachings in 1 John 1:8 "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us".