As we enter in to the new year, it is a time when many of us come up with new year resolutions for our personal and professional growth. We love to grow in all aspects of life and it is certainly important. But how many of us desire for spiritual growth? Many times we don’t consider to evaluate our growth in this area of life. Do you know if you have grown spiritually this year? We know how much dedication, discipline and effort are needed to grow in other areas of life but do we realize what it takes to grow spiritually? Apostle Paul prayed an amazing prayer for spiritual growth for his readers and it can teach us for our growth as well.
14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. – 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. – Ephesians 3:14-21
What does it mean to grow spiritually? Many times we are deceived that spiritual growth comes automatically with time or by following religious traditions. If we remain the same old person year after year without any change in old behavior, we cannot call it a growth. Spiritual growth is based on who we become. Jesus Christ is our reference and the ultimate goal to achieve spiritual maturity. Spiritual growth is becoming more like Christ everyday.
Praying for power:
To become more like Christ, he has to reside within us. Many of us try on our own to grow spiritually, but we cannot produce the real growth. Jesus said he is the vine and we are the branches(John 15:1-4). We can only get the power when we are connected to him. It is the power of God which can work inside transforming us to the image of Christ. Paul prayed that God will give us power so that we can make Christ at home in our heart and we can experience the fullness of God which is the spiritual maturity.
Power to make Christ at home in our hearts:
When we first believe in Christ, he comes in to our heart and our spiritual growth starts. We grow when we make our heart a residence for him. Is Christ treated as a resident or a guest in you? Many of us submit partially and still hold on remaining aspects of life. He is our Lord and we need to submit all if we want to grow spiritually. We fail to do this when our inner being is weak. We are defeated by other forces and cannot make Christ’s presence deepen in our life.
Our inner being is like the core muscles of our body. If it is weak, it cannot support overall physical structure of the body. When we strengthen the core, we can have power to support, stabilize and even lessen everyday wear & tear. When our inner man is strengthened in the Lord, we can make our heart a place where he can reside and be at home.
It is a continuous process of faith and asking God to give us power. Faith comes by hearing the word of God. When we ask God in faith he will strengthen our inner man to overcome the flesh. When we make our heart a true residence for Christ, his love grows in our life and we exhibit him to others. God is love and we will not only be filled but rooted and grounded in love. This love does not depend on the person we love but is based on who we are in Christ and based on the love of God.
Power to grow in the fullness of God:
Next, Paul prayed for power to comprehend God’s love. God’s love surpasses our human understanding. But with the power he grants us, we can experience its richness with our brothers and sisters in the church of God. When Christ dwells in us, we will be able to grasp his love as much as possible. We can experience even more when we fellowship and share this love with others. We can continue to grasp how wide, long, high and deep is the love of Christ.
When we grow in this love of God, we can be filled with the fullness of God which gives us the spiritual maturity. It is when we decrease and God increases in our life(John 3:30). We will not be anxious for anything as we know who is in control. We can become more like Christ and exhibit his love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in our life (Galatians 5:22-23).
What can we do? We cannot grow to spiritual maturity on our own, but depend on God who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think, according to the power that works in us. He desires for us to grow and experience the fullness of God in our lives for his glory. We need to tap this power continuously through prayer and faith in Christ. Here is a testimony of God’s power in fellow blogger Joseph’s life. Don’t we desire this power changing our lives too?
We need to pray with humility and submission. Paul started the prayer by kneeling down before God. It is a symbol of humility before God. Is our heart humbled before God? God expects a humble heart (Psalm 51:17) and humility gives freedom from selfishness. When we humble our self, we will be able to depend completely on God and empty self. We can be rest assured that God will answer our prayer for the transforming power as it is his will that we grow spiritually. As we start a new year, let us renew our commitment to prayer. Let us humble before God and pray with faith asking for power to grow spiritually and become more like Christ everyday.