2 Peter 1:5-8 HNV (Hebrew Names Version)
5 Yes, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence; and in moral excellence, knowledge; 6 and in knowledge, self-control; and in self-control patience; and in patience godliness; 7 and in godliness brotherly affection; and in brotherly affection, love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, they make you be not idle nor unfruitful to the knowledge of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah.
In any relationship, growth is important. In any pursuit, growth is important. Just like many things in life, your new relationship with God should constantly grow. As the scripture passage states, “as you increase your faith in God, many other things should follow.” I want to talk a little bit about the growth today and how to not be held captive by misleading religious ideals.
I feel like when I first came into my relationship with Christ, I had so many expectations of myself. I wanted to be the model Christian. If there was a modern-day bible, I was trying to have my own book. I often found myself disappointed because I was not the person I saw in my daydreams and visions. Then, I realized I was constantly disappointed because the ideals I had were tainted by religious tradition; and not spiritual authenticity. (follow me) What I mean by this is, a lot of the things I thought were God and were what he would want for me, were my own personal pressures; things that were of Christian ‘tradition” rather than a unique relationship with Christ.
If you have been in church for a while and know a little bit about it, you should know how important prayer is… right? Right, and the basic understanding of prayer should be communicating with God and him communicating back to you; a conversation if you will. But it is not taught that way among everyone, some people think you have to be a person of position to approach the throne (you don’t, Acts 10:34). Maybe when you pray, you begin to feel like you need to become something you are not and use words you barely understand; which was my issue. I had grown up in a church where I was surrounded by some great prayer warriors. The things they said were so empowering and penetrated so deeply, that there was no question that God would make whatever they prayed for happen. So when it was time for me to pray, instead of finding my own unique voice in prayer, I often copied what I heard... which led to little result. I also didn’t have the right “posture” when approaching the throne. I came as a beggar and not a son (heir to the promises of God). Nevertheless, my approach was all wrong and it wasn’t until I began to come as Tayja (who doesn’t have it all figured out), God met me where I was. Through prayer, I was able to not only find out things about God and who he is but also about myself as well which led to a progressive relationship.
When God presents his mirror of truth in front of you, it can be quite scary. It could also sometimes cause a great amount of guilt; but when you come to know him, no matter how ugly it may be, his love and the blood covers all. Often knowing this, many Christians get stuck here and have the perception that because “God knows their heart” (we’ve all said this don’t lie), we can continue living as our normal selves. Living, lusting, and sinning our way through life; and taking his sacrifice for granted. This shouldn’t be the case (Matthew 7:21-24). The blood is available when you make a mistake that you weren’t aware of, didn’t intend to make, or when you fall back into an old habit that you haven’t quite shaken yet... not for intentional mishaps. When you are called into Christ you are to be made new (Ephesians 4:17-24), which is EXTREMELY HARD... trust me I KNOW!! But it is not impossible. After Jesus had risen, we were given the best person to help us grow, you guessed it... the Holy Spirit. Not only does he act as a safety gate when situations, things, people, and places seem “sus”; but he convicts us when we are out of order (John 16:8-11). Sometimes, this may not feel nice but trust it is always needed. When you rely on the Holy Spirit to guide you, it helps you grow into the spiritually mature Christian that God wants you to be (Galatians 5:22-23). This allows you to help others along their journey by being an example (Proverbs 27:17).
I wouldn’t dare lie to you by saying that this is easy, especially in the times we are living in. Everything that is popular is so appetizing to the flesh and if not discerned correctly, you’ll find yourself in some deep turmoil. I struggle every day to conform to the image of Christ but I never give up. It is definitely a tough decision to make and a discipline to be built (obedience and surrendering to his will is what I'm talking about). But I have developed three simple points to help you if you want to get serious about Christ and your relationship with him.
If you know better, do better!!
Some things you know do not line up with the will of God; once you’re saved, sadly the grace of ignorance from a lot of things goes away and you will be held accountable for your actions.
Read/study your bible and Pray!!
There is NO greater way to learn about God, his character, and his desire for your life like reading your bible and praying FOR YOURSELF. The church is great and necessary but that intimate relationship hits differently because you don’t have to wait for someone to feed the word to you and you can catch when something is off in teaching.
Get you some friends that will hold you accountable.
I can not stress this enough, you need to get you some friends that desire to do right just like you!! That we're tired of playing tug of war and living on the fence!! Chile, you are not going to always like them but you will appreciate them snatching you out of the mouth of hell when you get too close to the fire. OH and also make sure they don’t judge you unfairly, but judge you with the heart of God in mind.
Visual Booklet here