Guest Author
Pastor C.J. Armstrong
Associate Pastor – Bloomington Baptist Church, Bloomington, Illinois

Today’s Scripture: 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. 2 Peter 3:18

When it comes to maturing in the Christian life, far too many Christians end up floundering in the Sea of Self instead of growing on the Island of Grace. Usually, this isn’t because of any active rebellion or rejection on their part. It arises because they have the wrong idea of what it means to grow as a Christian.

Mainstream opinion tells us that growing as a Christian involves dressing modestly, giving up sins and vices, and developing a good reputation. I’m not belittling those activities by any means. However, that definition of Christian growth puts the burden of growing on the individual. The individual then attempts to force themselves to grow on their own power.

When an individual tries to mature and grow on their own power, they are doomed to become a frustrated and disillusioned Christian– a Christian who flounders in the Sea of Self, wondering why their life isn’t working and where God is in their life. They are floundering not because God isn’t interested in them, but because they are trying to grow on their own power. That is not the way that God intended spiritual growth to be achieved. God intended for Christians to grow in grace: to grow in God’s power, not self-power.

Jesus told us this point-blank in John 15:4 that we cannot grow or bear fruit in and of ourselves. But if we abide in Christ, then Christ will bring forth fruit in us. Thus, our job as individual Christians is to develop and strengthen our individual relationships with God and Jesus Christ. We do this through the basics: spending time with God by reading our Bibles and praying. It is important to note that our time spent with God cannot be done out of a sense of duty or obligation. It must be done out of love and a desire to know God.

The stronger our relationship with God becomes, the more God will be able to work within our lives. The more we yield to His influence and leading, the more God will be able to change us so that we can give up the vices which plague us. Thus, when God shows us that something in our life is wrong, via His Word or through preaching and teaching, then our job is to not hinder God’s work by rebelling against His authority and holding onto the sin. This will allow the grace of God to work in our life and allow us to grow in grace instead of self.

Christian, don’t flounder in the Sea of Self. Don’t try to make yourself grow in your own power. Come to the Island of Grace where it’s stable and secure. Develop your relationship with God and let Him change you. You’ll grow the way you were intended to grow– and that’s the only way to grow successfully.