Have you ever experienced someone who knows you well saying “you’ve changed” (grown, matured, etc.), and you were surprised because not only did you not notice the growth, you didn’t “do” anything to grow? This is one of the most encouraging statements you can hear if you’re someone who wants to grow in your faith.
I heard this for the first time years ago, when one of my sisters announced to me, “before you became a believer in Christ you were “much more negative…. you’ve really changed.” For the record, I didn’t even know I was “negative” before (I just thought I had a bit of a sarcastic sense of humor, haha), so I was equally clueless that I had changed. The fact is, I had changed with no effort at all! I had changed unconsciously and permanently without even trying! Have you changed effortlessly? Yes you have, if you are a believer. You see, you cannot help but grow if you have Christ inside you. His nature will eventually manifest through you.
But just how does real, permanent growth take place without effort? Jesus said look at a grapevine and its branches. He said a branch will bear (grow) fruit just by staying attached to the vine! Likewise, a Christian will grow spiritually just by staying attached to the vine (Christ)! That sounds…almost…simple.
For many years I asked “How do I stay attached to the vine? Tell me how to abide.” I believed I had to DO something to stay connected to God. “Come on, just tell me how to DO it.” Have you ever felt this way? Well, how does a branch stay attached to the vine? It just rests where it is. Here is how we stay attached: We rest where we already are in Him.
The critical question then becomes, “Do you know where you already are in Him?” If you can’t answer “Yes” to that question, then your growth — the true effortless, permanent kind — will be slow. Why? Because you will be spending your time working on yourself and getting discouraged. You weren’t meant to do it that way.
The secret to growing spiritually: Learn where you already are in Christ because of His efforts, His finished work on the Cross. Come and learn, come and receive, come and trust in what you already have in Him.
“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.” 1 Pet 1:3.
Jesus Christ loved you enough to give Himself to you. The old you died with Him, and now He lives in you, the new you. Now you live by His faith. Galatians 2:20
Striving will diminish, and resting will flourish. Growth will be effortless. That’s the abundant life Jesus promised to you and me.
Have you experienced some effortless growth you’d like to share?