Spirit: Growing Up Into Christ (1)
The change of heart by which we become children of God is in the Bible spoken of as birth. Again, it is compared to the germination of the good seed sown by the husbandman. In like manner those who are just converted to Christ are, as "new-born babes," to "grow up" (I Peter 2:2; Eph. 4:15) to the stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. Or like the good seed sown in the field, they are to grow up and bring forth fruit. Isaiah says that they shall "be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified." (Isa. 61:3).
So from natural life, illustrations are drawn, to help us better to understand the mysterious truths of spiritual life. Not all the wisdom and skill of man can produce life in the smallest object in nature. It is only through the life which God himself has imparted, that either plant or animal can live. So it is only through the life from God that spiritual life is begotten in the hearts of men. Unless a man is "born from above," (John 3:3). he cannot become a partaker of the life which Christ came to give.
As with life, so it is with growth. It is God who brings the bud to bloom and the flower to fruit. It is by his power that the seed develops, "first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear." (Mark 4:28). And the prophet Hosea says of Israel, that "he shall grow as the lily." "They shall revive as the corn and grow as the vine."(Hosea 14:5,7). And Jesus bids us "consider the lilies, how they grow." (Luke 12:27). The plants and flowers grow not by their own care or anxiety or effort, but by receiving that which God has furnished to minister to their life. The child cannot, by any anxiety or power of its own, add to its stature. No more can you, by anxiety or effort of yourself, secure spiritual growth.
The plant, the child, grows by receiving from its surroundings that which ministers to its life,--air, sunshine, and food. What these gifts of nature are to animal and plant, such is Christ to those who trust in him. He is their "everlasting light," "a sun and a shield." (Isa. 60:19) He shall be as "the dew unto Israel." "He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass.". (Hosea 14:5; Ps. 72:6.) He is the living water, "the bread of God . . which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world." (John 6:33) In the matchless gift of his Son, God has encircled the whole world with an atmosphere of grace, as real as the air which circulates around the globe. All who choose to breathe this life-giving atmosphere will live, and grow up to the stature of men and women in Christ Jesus.
As the flower turns to the sun, that the bright beams may aid in perfecting its beauty and symmetry, so should we turn to the Sun of Righteousness, that Heaven's light may shine upon us, that our character may be developed in the likeness of Christ. Jesus teaches the same thing when he says, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine: no more can ye, except ye abide in me. . . Without me ye can do nothing." (John 15:4,5). You are just as dependent upon Christ, in order to live a holy life, as is the branch upon the parent stock for growth and fruitfulness. Apart from him you have no life. You have no power to resist temptation or to grow in grace and holiness. Abiding in him, you may flourish. Drawing your life from him, you will not wither nor be fruitless. You will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water.
(source: © Ellen G White; From "Steps To Christ") (all rights reserved)
Collated Spirit Articles
Growing Up Into Christ (1).
The plant, the child, grows by receiving from its surroundings that which ministers to its life, air, sunshine, and food...more
Growing Up Into Christ (2).
A life in Christ is a life of restfulness...more
Knowledge of God.
Many are the ways in which God is seeking to make himself known to us and to bring us into communion with him. Nature speaks to our senses without ceasing...more
Growing Up Into Christ (3).
Constantly beholding him, we "are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (II Cor. 3:18)...more
Growing Up Into Christ (4).
They knew that He was before the throne of God, their Friend and Saviour still...more
The Sinner's Need of Christ (1).
But after his sin, he could no longer find joy in holiness, and he sought to hide from the presence of God...more
The Sinner's Need of Christ (2).
But he added, in the bitterness of his soul-anguish and despair, "I am carnal, sold under sin...more
Repentance (1). It is only through Christ that we can be brought into harmony with God, with holiness; but how are we to come to Christ?...more
Every desire for truth and purity, every conviction of our own sinfulness, is an evidence that his Spirit is moving upon our hearts...more
Repentance (3). One ray of the glory of God, one gleam of the purity of Christ, penetrating the soul, makes every spot of defilement painfully distinct...more
Many accept an intellectual religion, a form of godliness, when the heart is not cleansed...more
The Privilege of Prayer (1).
Jesus himself, while he dwelt among men, was often in prayer. Our Saviour identified himself with our needs and weaknesses...more
The Work And The Life (1).
The spirit of Christ's self-sacrificing love is the spirit that pervades heaven...more
The Work And The Life (2).
We are brought into sympathy with Christ through the fellowship of his sufferings...more
The Work And The Life (3).
We need not go to heathen lands, or even leave the narrow circle of the home, if it is there that our duty lies, in order to work for Christ...more
Faith and Acceptance (1).
You have confessed your sins, and in heart put them away. You have resolved to give yourself to God...more
Faith and Acceptance (2).
Henceforth you are not your own; you are bought with a price...more
Faith and Acceptance (3).
But even this parable, tender and touching as it is, comes short of expressing the infinite compassion of the Heavenly Father...more
The Test of Discipleship (1).
Every burden is light; for the yoke that Christ imposes is easy. Duty becomes a delight, and sacrifice a pleasure...more
The Test of Discipleship (2).
When the principle of love is implanted in the heart, when man is renewed after the image of Him that created him, the new covenant promise is fulfilled...more
The Test of Discipleship (3).
If eternal life were granted on any condition short of this, then the happiness of the whole universe would be imperiled...more
The Test of Discipleship (4).
Even if we are overcome by the enemy, we are not cast off, not forsaken and rejected of God...more
Confession will not be acceptable to God without sincere repentance and reformation. There must be decided changes in the life...more
When sin has deadened the moral perceptions, the wrong-doer does not discern the defects of his character...more
What To Do With Doubt (1).
God never asks us to believe, without giving sufficient evidence upon which to base our faith...more
What To Do With Doubt (2).
There are many things apparently difficult or obscure, which God will make plain and simple to those who thus seek an understanding of them...more
"Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." (Jer. 29:13)...more