The rewards of spiritual growth

Good morning everyone,
 
Our theme for this month: “Personal Responsibility”
 
Our Bible verse for today: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
 
Our thought for today: “The rewards of spiritual growth”
 
I love the way the New Living Translation uses the word “masterpiece” to describe us. We are God’s masterpieces. This wonderful spiritual truth, revealed by the Apostle Paul, is actually connected to and flows from two other essential and foundational truths revealed in other places by Paul. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 he wrote, “… anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun.” And in Philippians 1:9, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
 
In the moment you placed your faith in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins you became a new spiritual creation. Your sins were forgiven once and for all and forever, and in God’s eyes you are perfect – a spiritual masterpiece! That’s what 2 Corinthians 5:17 means. But also, at the same moment, God began a process of transformation that involves spiritual growth. This is what Philippians 1:9 teaches. So, in terms of forgiven sins you are already perfect. But in terms of spiritual stature, you are growing and becoming better and stronger. In that sense you are a masterpiece in process. You are being formed into what you will one day be.
 
One important reward of spiritual growth is the knowledge that God is making us better and stronger. And because we know that is true, we can learn to rest and relax in the Lord and just let Him have His way in our lives. We can learn to stop striving and stressing over the things of life; we can stop trying to find our identity and our value in the standards of the world; we can stop looking to the world for peace, joy, meaning, and fulfillment. Rather than looking to the world to define us and to assign us our identity, we instead look to God and when we do, we find ourselves described with this wonderful phrase, “God’s masterpiece”.
 
What a relief this can be! How much pressure is lifted and stress is removed when we have learned to rest and relax in the Lord as we let the Holy Spirit do His work in us. This is big. This is a game-changer. It’s what we were talking about in yesterday’s devotional about all the rest of life flowing out of a deep and rich relationship with God.
 
And this is what God wants for us. This is why He has revealed to us, in the Bible, that the most important thing is our spiritual growth. This is why we need to have spiritual disciplines that place us in a position before God every day whereby He can continue molding and shaping us.
 
Take personal responsibility for this. Do your part. Have a solid structure of daily spiritual disciplines in your life. Then embrace your reward. Enjoy it. Learn to rest and relax in the Lord knowing that you are becoming who He wants you to be.  
 
God bless,
Pastor Jim
Copyright © 2022 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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