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A Framework for Christian Growth

 

I recently attended Overflow Conference 2014. It was a day with inspiring preaching by Francis Chan complemented with worship through song led by Trevor Hodge, intellectually challenging workshops and opportunities to flood the city of Sydney praying and spreading the gospel with strangers. About halfway through the conference, I realised that the structure of the conference could be described using a fairly simple framework similar to Christian growth.

As Christians, we are saved to be more like Jesus. This process is theologically named ‘sanctification’. How then are we to grow more like Jesus? As I offer (but do not author) the framework below, go ahead and assess how you’re walking with Christ.

 

Head

How much do you know about God?

Are you really following the God of the bible or do you have a wrong view of Him?

Theology may be a scary word but it’s quite simply ‘God-study’. He gave us minds to attempt to comprehend what has been revealed about Him in Scripture.

For example, SPUR is a young adults ministry birthed by ACTS11 because of people growing up physically and getting educated in the ‘secular’ sense, but keep their knowledge of God at a highschool level.

Heart

Do you know and love God personally?

Sure, as Christians we claim to have a personal relationship with God, but this relationship we claim to have entails love, devotion, sacrifice and communication. Too many church-goers are content with a nice Sunday experience of the Jesus that saves us from our sin.

Where do your desires lie? We go crazy over a girlfriend or boyfriend, sports, movies and gaming but are we crazy over God? What convicts you in life? Is it the amazing glory of God and being able to revel in His presence or are your ‘quiet times’ limited to a dreary 5 minute reading before bed? Do you pray and look forward to God himself or the peripheral benefits of churchianity?

Hands

If you know God, you also know you were made to respond in good works.

In what way are you worshipping God in your actions? If we truly believe the truth about who God is, who we are and what Jesus has done, we simply cannot contain this truth. We must put it into action.

Unfortunately, many people believe that serving God is done by becoming a leader or teacher. While leadership is indeed a big role and there is a need for people to serve in this way, not everyone is called to be a minister.

We are called to serve God in whatever situation we are in. Are you serving God with whatever you have right now? What sacrifices are you willing to make of time, money, energy and passion? Are you willing to boast in how amazing God is?

 

Is your growth imbalanced or has it stagnated altogether? It may be helpful to think about this framework whenever possible, to see how various things in life are affecting you and in what ways. 

“God has made us with a harmony of heart and head, of thought and action… The more we know Him the more we are able to love Him. The more we love Him the more we seek to know Him. To be central in our hearts He must be foremost in our minds. Religious thought is the prerequisite to religious affection and obedient action.” – R.C. Sproul.

When you attempt to apply a sermon you’ve listened to, for example, think about what you’ve learnt (head), how this changes your desires (heart) and what you’re going to do about it (hands). If you’re someone who prepares bible teaching material, you should also think about how your application addresses these areas.

 

We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone… but we are not left alone.

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