All believers in Christ desire to grow in Him. However, many believers do not grow spiritually the way God intends. I want to share with you what the book of Colossians says about growing in Christ and what believers can do to ensure they grow in Him as they seek to follow Him.
1. We are to fill ourselves with biblical knowledge
Paul states, “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,” (Col. 1:9, ESV)
Paul urged the believers in Colossae to be completely controlled by knowledge; not just facts and information…but deep spiritual knowledge of who God is, and what He desires for their lives. We primarily receive this knowledge by reading, meditating, praying, and soaking in Scripture.
In fact, the bible warns of the consequences of a lack of knowledge:
Ephesians 4:14 reads: “so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”
We only see things clearly when we are seeking God’s will through His Word and increasing in our biblical knowledge.
Paul prayed the Colossians would grow in spiritual wisdom and understanding. He was praying that they would grow in the ability to organize what they were learning and then apply it. We need to be consistently filled with applied biblical knowledge if we are to grow in Christ.
2. We are to be spiritually fruitful in our walk
Paul adds, “…so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (v.10)
Walking in Christ refers to one’s daily routine of living. Several times in Scripture, God tells us to walk in a worthy way. The main way we can walk in a worthy way is to bear fruit. Consequently, bearing fruit is proof that we are living the way we should be living. We are to walk in humility, purity, contentment, faith, with good works, being different from the world, in love, in light, in wisdom, and in truth.
Fruit is the outworking of our faith and proof that we are living his way. In fact, Jesus told us we cannot bear fruit apart from walking in the Spirit of God:
John 15:4: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”
A branch cannot bear fruit apart from the vine. Christians must be completely yielded to the Spirit in order to grow. The more we know God, then the more we trust him. The more we know God, the more confidence we can have in Him. The more we know God, then the more we walk in him. If we are constantly in doubt, in fear, in spiritual paralysis, we don’t know God very well and our walk is not fruitful. When we increase or knowledge and apply it in our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit, then we produce fruit, and we grow.
3. We are to be strengthened through God’s power
Paul continues, “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy” (v.11)
This is not a one time power boosting. This is a continual strengthening. When we are strengthened by God’s glorious power then our power is strengthened.
This power gives us the strength to endure trials. It gives us the strength to have patience and be joyful in the process. When we are living in the power of God, even in the deepest and darkest hours of suffering, there will be an abiding joy that defies comprehension. When we are strengthened in God’s power we can know that we are growing.
4. We are to be thankful for our inheritance
Paul says that he has been “giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” (v.12)
When our nature and disposition becomes one of thankfulness and not one of self-pity or ungratefulness, then we know we are growing spiritually. When we find ourselves becoming more thankful for blessings that we have in life then we know we are growing in Christ. We should be thankful that we qualify to share in God’s inheritance because of Jesus Christ. When we receive Jesus, we become the Father’s adopted sons and daughters. Like a natural child, we receive an inheritance that is passed down from father to child.
What is our inheritance? Eternal life, truth, purity. Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. The natural man would not enjoy Heaven. But the born-again man will. In Christ, we possess all these things.
5. We can be understanding of our salvation
Paul concludes, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (v.13-14)
To be delivered means to be rescued. We are instantly delivered from Satan’s power. We are also transferred. We are on God’s team now, not Satan’s, not our own.
Before we could successfully transfer we needed redemption. This has the idea of freeing a slave from bondage; it’s a ransom payment. What was the price? The blood of Jesus was the price. He paid it to Himself. He laid down his life so that we may be redeemed.
Finally, we also needed forgiveness. We are pardoned from our penalty for sin. This pardoning comes to us in a split-second – the moment we are saved.
The greatest phrase ever uttered on this earth was when Jesus cried out from the cross, “It is finished.” Through his blood, a sacrifice was made and God’s wrath was poured out on Jesus and we were spared.
God wants us to grow. But to do so, we need to trust him this ways are best. We are to trust him as we seek to obey what we learn in the bible, trust him as we bear fruit in walking with him, trust him as we rely on His power, and trust him as we realize our inheritance and salvation. When we trust Him in these ways, we can ensure that we will grow spiritually.