With the close of another year, now seems a perfect time to reflect on the blessings of the previous year while asking the Lord what may be requested of me in the coming year. As I look back and ahead, my own spiritual growth is something worth examining. Have I grown closer to the Lord in the past twelve months? Do I know and love Him more? Do I see any fruit from a life devoted to Him? Have I become more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled (Gal 5:22-23)? (Perhaps I should ask my wife! :-)) As I look ahead to 2012, desiring to make the most of the time (Eph. 5:15-16), pursuing spiritual maturity, and longing for increased depth in my intimacy with the Lord; what should I focus on and how do I get there?
As we read the Bible, it is clear that spiritual growth is expected. We see Paul urging disciples to not just receive the basics of the faith and stop, but to continue growing in the Lord. “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ” (Phil 1:9-10). The writer of Hebrews even rebukes those who seem content to stop growing, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food...” (Heb. 5:12-14). Other passages also reiterate that our growth should be ongoing to full maturity. 
As I have read these passages in the past, at times I have subconsciously assumed that they meant I should pursue those things that are deeper, “advanced,” unknown, and perhaps even controversial. Somehow I could (or should?) grow past John 3:16 and “Jesus loves me this I know…” becoming a “theologian” of sorts (perhaps being a bit unsure of what that even meant). This is not to suggest that I didn’t care about or highly value these “basics,” but that I was perhaps pursuing something beyond them in the name of growth. Recently, however, I have seen my error in this.
As I consider my desired spiritual growth in 2012, I want to stress that it will focus on Jesus and His Gospel. I simply cannot attempt to move beyond Him, as if there were anything richer, deeper, or more fulfilling. I love how Packer and Parrett put it, “We believe, rather, that it is imperative to think of moving on from the “milk” of the Gospel to the “meat” of the Gospel.”  Oh, how I pray that in 2012 I may grow in the depth of understanding of the "meat" of the Gospel of Jesus. I pray for the Holy Spirit to continue His transforming work in my life, demonstrated through Spiritual fruit and a life of faithful obedience. And I pray that I may have the heart and courage to share Jesus with any many as I can. I pray the same is true for you.
“For I didn’t think it was a good idea to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).
Happy New Year’s... For His Glory!
 Verses include: 1 Cor. 3:1-2, Eph. 4:13-14, Phil. 1:25, Phil. 3:12, 15, Col. 2:2-6, 1 Tim. 4:7, Heb. 6:1, 1 Peter 1:5, and 2 Peter 3:18.
 J.I. Packer and Gary Parrett, Grounded in the Gospel (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2010), 96.
Fri, December 30, 2011
by Chris Anderson filed under