Here are some observations on the Apostle Paul’s spiritual growth. It was not something flashy or quick; it took a lifetime. And the end result was not something the world thinks was necessarily that great. Paul started to talk less about him and more of Christ. He became more aware of his short comings and his perpetual need of grace. His spiritual growth was not up but down. Deeper into God’s grace.
I’ve got three different verses from Paul’s letters in chronological order. You can see how his view of himself became less and less as Christ took more and more space in him.
For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. (1 Cor. 15:9, NIV, emphasis added)
Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ. (Eph. 3:8, NLT, emphasis added)
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. (1 Tim. 1:15, NIV, emphasis added)
Acknowledge that there is no way you can pay off your depth to Jesus Christ. That’s not even the goal of Christian living. Instead, embrace grace and the Lord of grace as you are, receive all that God has for you with great joy. And then go out and live out your faith, share all that grace with others.
Know that you will never grow out of your need of grace. Even if you follow the law of God perfectly, you’d still need grace. Because there’s no way around grace. It’s the foundation of our freedom in Christ. Without grace, we can’t be united with God. But when we live in Christ, we will never lack grace or the power of God in our lives.
Spiritual growth just happens when we abide in Jesus. It’s the work of the Holy Spirit. And the result is not becoming some sort of superior Christian. But it’s becoming Christ-like. It’s starting to see your sinfulness more keenly and noticing your dreadful need of grace becoming greater and greater. That’s what happened to Paul. And that’s what is happening to us as we keep on clinging to Jesus. Christian living is digging deeper into God’s grace.
Thank you for your incredible grace.
Help us to see ourselves and each other with your grace.
Enable us to trust you with our imperfections.
Keep us from getting discouraged when we continue to see
how much we need your grace every day.
Instead, show us the joy in your love and grace.
Help us to celebrate you and your grace every day of our lives.
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: How do you see spiritual growth?
Be blessed my fellow pilgrim as you embrace God’s grace and all that God has for you!