Growing in Jesus

Children by Jean Bernard (1775-1883). Original from the Rijks Museum. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel. by Rijksmuseum is licensed under CC-CC0 1.0

Children start learning with the first breath they take. They learn that their tummies feel better when they are fed so they cry to let their Mommy or Daddy know it’s time for dinner. They learn that a dry diaper feels much better than a wet one so they cry to let their Mommy or Daddy know it’s time for a change. And from that moment on, they rely on Mommy and Daddy to teach them how to live safely, happily, and always growing with new knowledge.

In my book, From Self – esteem to God – esteem, I shared my own salvation journey. Saved on November 6, 1976, I came off my knees thinking that I had to change myself. Can you imagine a tiny baby going to the dresser, getting a diaper, and changing (and cleaning) themselves? And that same baby going to the refrigerator, taking out the formula, pouring it into a clean bottle, and heating it up? And yet, many new Christians think they have to do the same thing.

We accept Jesus as our Savior, but we rob Him of the power to change us by trying to do it ourselves. We have a Helper, we have the Holy Spirit inside us from the moment we confess and profess that Jesus is Lord. “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38 NIV

There are some things that we know are obvious sin such as stealing, adultery, and murder; we know what obvious sin is. But being a Christian means so much more. It means living a life reflective of Jesus and for that, we go to God’s Word. And that is where we need a Helper to interpret God’s Word for us. Each person battles their own sins and we cannot even recognize what some of them are until the Holy Spirit teaches us. “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my Name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I (Jesus) have said to you.” John 14:26 NIV

I am a teacher; that is a gift that God allows me to use in mentoring and counseling. In order to teach, I have to know what, why, and who I am teaching. For many years I lived with the sin of “self.” Self got in the way of being fully used of God because I limited my teaching by my own ability. I read the Bible with my understanding, making my notes, and presenting my ideas of what the people needed to hear. Oh, I was used…in a small way. But then I started feeling like I couldn’t go any further. That I had taught all that I knew and my words were just words. God showed me that I was working under my self and that I needed to relinquish that self to Him. “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires.” Ephesians 4:22 NIV

My desires were not to plant seeds, my selfish desires were for ME to change people. I had to give that power over to God and allow the Holy Spirit to teach me! I needed to learn that if I was going to be healthy, I had to be fed from God’s Word, not just read it. I had to be changed by the Holy Spirit, not by myself. It didn’t happen over night, change is hard. I still have to stop and pray before I speak because I have so much head knowledge and I want to make sure I am speaking from the Holy Spirit’s prompting and not my own.

Like the baby I opened this blog with, we have to cry out to God for our nourishment. We have to cry out to the Holy Spirit to change us. We are His children and He will take care of our spiritual growing needs.

Maybe you’re a new Christian trying to walk all by yourself. Maybe you are a more mature Christian, as I am, and you just have some areas that need special help from God to overcome. Let the Holy Spirit hold your hand and lead you to where He knows you need to go. Invite Him to be present throughout your day. Ask Him to speak to you as you read your Bible. He is faithful and can’t wait to assist you in your desire to be more like Jesus.

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