Let's face it; if we don't grow then we don't live. In the physical sense of life, the only time we stop growing or, learning, is when we die. In order to hold down a job, we have to learn how to do the job. In order to have a relationship, whether it's romantic or just friendship, we first must learn how. Just as we must learn in order to succeed in society, we must also learn of Christ in order to grow as a Christian. Notice here I said "learn of Christ," not learn Christ. The difference is, we can learn history, or learn math, but to learn of, means it's making it more impersonal or intimate. In order to grow in Christ, we have to learn of him on a personal and intimate level. As the scriptures say; we are dead with Christ, and we are raised with Christ, which means that we are partakers of Christ. Just as Christ suffered, so must we suffer for his name sake. Jesus promised that if we are his, we would suffer persecution, tribulation, and some would even suffer imprisonment and death for his name's sake. This is but a small price to pay for all the suffering and agony he went through for us. Don't get me wrong, being a Christian does not mean we will always suffer and never have any joy or peace. Every one in life goes through some form of suffering at one time or another; the difference is; we suffer for claiming the name of Jesus Christ as the only means of eternal life.
To really grow in Christ there are several things we must do. Mistakes are one thing that can help us grow in Christ. Does that mean we go out and intentionally make mistakes? Not at all, if we do it intentionally, then it's not a mistake now is it. Mistakes are however, one thing we can all learn from, without them we can't learn how to correct them. If you make a mistake at work, it teaches us that we need to try harder to perform the task properly. When we sin it should teach us that we need to strive more to be obedient to God's will. Now I'm not saying that works or obedience saves us by any means. What I am saying is, after we're saved, works and obedience is essential on order for us to grow in Christ. When we make a mistake, it should draw us closer to the Lord by showing us that we need to depend on him to teach us the right way.
Another thing we must do in order to grow in Christ is pray. Now I'll be the first to admit that, I'm not a great prayer warrior. I do, however, pray and ask the Lord's guidance. What I mean by prayer warrior is,; there are those that can and do spend hours upon hours a day on their knees praying. If God has led you to do this, then this is one of the best tools you can have for God. Prayer in general however, does not always mean you need to stop, drop and pray. You can pray to God while at work, while driving your car, or even while you're shopping. Praying simply means that we are in conversation with God, whether silently or out loud, God hears it.
Paul said in 1st Thessalonians 5:17 that, we are to pray without ceasing. What I believe Paul is saying here, is that every time something comes to mind that we need to pray about, bring it to God right then. If you're at work and happen to think about someone that needs Jesus, then you can talk to God about their salvation while you're still working. To pray without ceasing doesn't mean that we are to literally stay in prayer every waking moment, prayer simply means that we bring our petitions to God when he brings them to mind.
Another way to grow in Christ is through obedience by staying in his word, and obeying his word. First of all, how are we going to know if we are obeying his word, if we don't read it? We know that we can't always trust what others are teaching us. Some "so called" preachers and teachers would in fact lead us right into the gates of hell if we followed their teachings. This is why it is so important to dig into God's word for yourself, by doing so, the Holy Spirit will show you if it's right or wrong. To obey his word means exactly what it sounds like. When God says it's wrong to do something, then it's wrong. If he tells us to do something and we don't do it, then we're still being disobedient to his word. How can we grow if we don't do what he tells us to do, or not to do? If your boss tells you to perform a task a certain way, because that's how they want it done, how can you expect to grow within the company if you don't follow their guidelines? It's just as Paul said throughout Romans chapter 6, how can we continue to sin who are dead to sin? Can we honestly justify sin by using the excuse it's better than doing something worse? Sin is sin, no matter how big or small we may see it. Jesus said himself in Mark 9:3-50 that, it's better to cut out the part that is offensive than to keep it to enter into hell. What I believe he means in this verse is, if we try to justify one sin by saying it's better than another sin, it's still sin and we will suffer judgment for it. Again I say, sin is sin, no matter how big or small we choose to define it, it's still wrong.
The writer of Hebrews also said in chapter 10 verse 26 & 27; For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. So if we sin a small sin willfully to justify not committing a bigger sin, we still should have a fearful looking of judgment. Willful sin will stump our growth in Christ because we are refusing to be obedient to his commandments.
The Last thing that will help us grow in Christ is fellowship with other believers. The Bible says in 2nd Corinthians 6:14; Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? This does not mean that we are not to associate with unbelievers; it simply means that we are not to have fellowship with them. In this term of the word fellowship, according to Strong's Bible dictionary, it means; participation or intercourse. Now what that means is that, we are not to follow down the same path they're traveling down. If they're out parting and doing things we know is wrong in the sight of God, then we should not be participating in them. In fact, if they are doing these sorts of things, we really shouldn't even be around them when they are doing them. This is why God warned the children of Israel not to take the sons and daughters of those that worshipped idols, because they would cause them to follow in the same path. Look at Solomon, according to the word of God he was the wisest man that ever lived. In his last days he went after all sorts of women and they caused him to worship their idols. To fellowship with other believers can not only give us strength, but it can also help us to grow by feeding off of their strength and faith.
We can grow in Christ if we really want to. If we don't grow, then it's because He is not the main focus of our life. The scripture says in Matthew 6:21; For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. It also says in the very next verse; The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. Is your eye single, what that means is, are you whole heartedly focused upon the things of God. If you are, then you have no reason why you can't grow in Christ. .