Growing in grace is a term that we don’t use in our churches much anymore. It’s straight out of 2 Peter, though. Growing in grace is another way of talking about maturing as believers in Christ.
In his classic work, Thoughts on Religious Experience, Archibald Alexander gives nine practical directions for growing in grace. I’ll modernize and summarize them a bit for you:
- Convince yourself that growth in Christ “will never be attained without vigorous, continued effort”. This should be your most important pursuit.
- Yet “you must have it deeply fixed in your mind that nothing can be effected in this work without the aid of the Divine Spirit”.
- Stay in the Word continually and “obtain clear and consistent views of the plan of redemption”. Even the most learned must know how to “sit at the feet of Jesus in the spirit of a child, or they are not likely to be edified by their studies”.
- “Pray constantly and fervently for the influences of the Holy Spirit”.
- Take time to look into the state of your soul. “Be in earnest to search out al your secret sins and to repent of them”.
- Pursue deep and meaningful relationships with other believers—especially those who are strong believers but aren’t part of your “party or sect”.
- Do more than you have done previously. Give more, share the gospel more, etc.
- “Practice self-denial every day”.
- Know that for your growth God may cast you into the furnace of affliction.
As I read through this list there isn’t anything that jumps out at me. This is simple ordinary Christian living. No secret keys to growing in Christ just simple plodding along type of disciplines.
I’m convinced that most readers will likely skip right through this article. I’m not anticipating a great deal of shares on this one—simply because there isn’t really anything novel here. And that’s the point. In order to grow in Christ you probably don’t need to go to the Christian book store and get a stack of new books. You probably need to just sit down and read the Proverbs for 15 minutes every day. Or maybe call up a Christian friend and talk about what the Lord is doing in your life. Pick a particular sin that the Lord has been revealing to your heart and go to war against it. Stuff like that.
I’m convinced Christian growth requires hard work not necessarily novel ideas. It’s not for lack of information that many professing believers aren’t growing in holiness. It’s more about not applying and living out what we already know.