3 Ways God Grows His People
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.~Romans 8:28-29
Romans 8:28-29 is a hefty promise. It’s a promise that nothing is wasted with God. “All things” are used for our good. Suffering and trials all have purpose. So what is that purpose? To bring God glory. Bringing God glory happens when we become more and more Christ-like. Suffering and trials are not my preferred way to grow in grace. My preference is to study God’s Word and depend upon Him in prayer.
Trials and Suffering
My least favorite way of being conformed to the image of Christ is through trials and suffering. The cause for trials and suffering are usually unclear. The cause for suffering could be from living in a broken world. Jesus himself says that we will have trouble in this world (John 16:33). That is one of my least favorite promises, by the way. James takes it even further suggesting we count all trials as pure joy. I’m not great at that either.
The other cause for suffering is our own sin. Suffering could be the natural consequence of our own poor choices. As I look back over my life I can see numerous times suffering was caused by doing things my own way, rather than God’s way.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. ~Romans 5:3-5
The Word of God is living and active and powerful. We are literally changed as we read and study His truth. The Word of God is perfect for correcting, teaching and admonishing (2 Timothy 3:16-17). God’s Word is how He speaks to us. The Bible gives us direction for life and brings clarity to how to live an effective Christian life.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. ~2 Timothy 3:16-17
The prayers of a righteous person are powerful. That means if you are a believer you are righteous and your prayers are powerful. We can expect to receive the desires of our heart when we’re asking God’s will (1 John 5:14-15). We must exercise the privilege to enter into the throne room and practice dependence on God (Hebrews 4:16).
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered…Hebrews 5:7-8
Bible study, prayer and suffering are all avenues that cause us to grow in grace, conformed into the image of Jesus.
Bible study, prayer and suffering are all avenues that cause us to grow in grace, conformed into the image of Jesus. All of which, fall under the umbrella of sanctification. Sanctification produces a greater combined effect when a believer cooperates with the Holy Spirit’s help (Philippians 2:12-13). This means, our cooperation matters!
Two primary disciplines in the Christians life when cooperating with the work of the Holy Spirit includes prayer and study of His Word. Cooperating with the Spirit of God in prayer and the study of God’s Word brings about increased trust and obedience (Romans 10:17). Trust in God and obedience to his Word causes us to become increasingly Christ-like and set apart for His purposes (Philippians 2:12-13). Generally, we don’t have control over the suffering part. But we do have control over the preparation (prayer and bible study). We can equip ourselves for the battles that lay ahead.
This life-long process, making us more and more like Christ. Sanctification does not end this side of heaven. We will never “arrive” and have it all figured out. Surrender to the imperfections and grasp onto grace. Look forward to the destination. The day is coming when there will be no more tears and we will have full knowledge of God and stand in His presence. How will you cooperate with God as you grow in grace?
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