Advance or Stagnate and Decline!

Is life better for you now than it was last year? Have you personally made improvements in any areas that have held you back?

Jesus Christ said, “‘…I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly’” (John 10:10). Is that even possible today? When we consider the frightening state of humanity, isn’t it simply a matter of just hanging on to what we have—much less to be really challenging ourselves to take on problems that will, after all, best be resolved when we are changed into Spirit?

This is, unfortunately, the kind of spiritual malaise that has settled into the lives of many members of the household of God—people who were once zealous, fired up for the Work of God and striving to overcome sin through greater and greater commitment by obedience to God!

Growth is spoken of in reference to the Church of God, and that has to do with a responsibility placed on each one of us. Consider what Paul wrote in the Book of Ephesians (NASB version):

“‘but speaking [better: holding] the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love’” (Ephesians 4:15-16).

There are a couple of ways we can measure “growth in the body,” and one is found in another of Paul’s letters:

“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified [margin: do not stand the test]” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Another determination for us to consider is our committed personal involvement in the Work of the Church of God—the Work Jesus Christ is overseeing as Head of the Church (compare Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; 5:23; Colossians 1:18).

Lest we forget, our goal remains before us, and that is to become “‘…perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect’” (Matthew 5:48). Also, this is exactly the ultimate purpose Paul understood that his preaching was to focus on, and he expressed this when he said of Jesus Christ:

“Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 1:28).

Take this to heart—we should all be growing, and even though there will be times when the passion of our calling grows a little cool, we must rebound and continue to “stir up the gift of God” advancing toward the perfection that can be ours!

Otherwise, we may just find ourselves stagnating, even declining and slipping back into the destructive society of our day—and the fate which awaits this age is, as the Bible quite pointedly warns, a dead end!

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