by Billy Graham, from Peace for Each Day
His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us. — 2 Peter 1:3
How can we develop a faith strong enough to see us throughout our lives? The key is this: God wants us to be spiritually strong and has provided us with every resource we need. We need God’s strength to face life’s challenges — and He wants to give it to us.
Tragically, many Christians never discover this. They have committed their lives to Christ… they may be active in their churches… they pray and read their Bibles on occasion — but they remain spiritually immature and weak in the face of life’s temptations and setbacks.
We may be old in years, but if our faith is immature, we will be fearful and unprepared. But it doesn’t need to be this way. Just as a baby needs food and exercise in order to grow, so we need the spiritual food and exercise God has provided for us. Without them our faith is weak, but with them spiritual strength increases, and we are better prepared for whatever life has in store for us.
What are you doing now that will make you spiritually mature when you’re older?
From Seedling to Tree
He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season. — Psalm 1:3
It is no accident that the Bible compares us to trees, urging us to grow spiritual roots that are deep and strong. But a tree wasn’t always a tree. It began as a small seed. Spiritual life also begins with a seed — the seed of God’s Word planted in the soil of our souls that eventually sprouts and becomes a new seedling as we are born again. But though we’re saved, we aren’t meant to remain spiritual seedlings, weak and vulnerable to every temptation or doubt or falsehood or fear. God’s will is for us to grow strong in our faith and become mature, grounded in the truth of His Word and firmly committed to doing His will (1 Peter 2:2).
Giving your life to Christ is an essential first step — but it is only the first step. God’s will is for you to become spiritually mature, growing stronger in your relationship to Christ and your service for Him. Conversion is the work of an instant; spiritual maturity is the work of a lifetime.
Is your faith like a seedling, a sprout, or a mature tree?
Be mature and complete, not lacking anything. — James 1:4 NIV
We cannot pretend to be something we are not; a Christlike character cannot be faked. If Christ is not real to us or if we haven’t learned to walk with Him and submit our lives to Him every day, then our spiritual impact will be far less than it might have been. People are very sensitive to hypocrisy; if they sense it in us, they will dismiss our pretenses and pay no attention to our advice. On the other hand, if they can sense our faith is sincere and our love is authentic, then they will respect us and take us seriously (even when they know we are not perfect).
This is why it is important to begin building our lives on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ now, instead of waiting until it is too late and the problems of old age overwhelm us. Every gardener knows that mature fruit does not appear overnight. It takes time to grow — and so does the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. Start tending your garden today, so you may be “mature and complete.”
In what place in your life do you most need spiritual growth?
Excerpted with permission from Peace for Each Day by Billy Graham, copyright Billy Graham Literary Trust.