But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Cor. 3:18
It is God’s will for every Christian to grow in grace, that we would “raise our position in Christ” by becoming more like Him. As you continue to focus on Christ, abiding in His presence, you are being changed by the Spirit from one degree of God’s glory to a higher degree. This process of maturing in Christ should be our foremost goal: to become more like Christ, to remain steadfast in our faith, and to avoid being led away into error by sinful people.
Therefore, dear friends, since you have been warned in advance, be on guard so that you aren’t led off course into the error of sinful people, and lose your own safe position. Instead, grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Pet. 3:17-18
Hindrances to Growing in Grace
Through the process of growing in grace, it is common to enter roadblocks to progressing in our relationship with God. Have you ever encountered a road block? Maybe, if you live in Tucson, you’ve attempted to enter a flooded street during our summer monsoon season. When this happens, the safest thing to do is to stop, turn around and find an alternative route to your destination. Otherwise, you could end up stuck, and really have a problem on your hands.
We are called as Christians to progress in our faith. Paul said, “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Phil. 3:14 NLT) Hindrances can occur to prevent you from moving forward and growing in Grace. You must be proactive when you encounter these hindrances — recognize the blockage, and take a different route.
Don’t get swept away in a monsoon flood—don’t be trapped by the enemy—grow in grace! Here are some common hindrances we face, and practical tips to avoid their pitfalls.
Maintain Your Spiritual Hunger
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Matt. 5:6
Many Christians get stuck in ruts because they lose their desire for the things of God. To overflow with God’s presence, you must remain hungry for Him! Desperation pulls on the heart of God in a way unlike with those that are “full.” You don’t have to fast all the time – but you can live a fasted lifestyle. Stay spiritually hungry. David declared,
Just like a deer that craves streams of water, my whole being craves you, God. My whole being thirsts for God, for the living God. When will I come and see God’s face?” Psalm 42:1-2
Remember, David was deeply discouraged when he wrote these words, yet he desired God above everything else. Work to maintain your hunger for God and the things of His Kingdom.
Don’t Become Spiritually Lazy
Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.” – Rom. 12:11-12 NLT
Paul exhorted the Roman Christians to “never be lazy” and to “serve the Lord enthusiastically.” Remember, it’s grace (a gift) that saves you, but your very life demonstrates your faith.
Life isn’t a sprint, but an endurance run. An endurance runner knows not to begin a race in a fast sprint; he keeps a steady pace throughout the marathon. It’s the same with our walk in Christ. It’s not enough to start the year off doing well, then suddenly stop reading your Bible, praying, worshipping, standing in faith, fellowshipping, and serving. That gives the enemy the victory he seeks – he wants to stop your growth in Christ.
To finish your race effectively, you must run with endurance, push through hardships, pain, and finish your race! Any endurance runner is familiar with pushing past the pain that comes during a long race. So much of it is mental, and learning how to endure. Use your time, treasure, and talent with enthusiasm. Be consistent—a steady pace wins the race.
But we desperately want each of you to show the same effort to make your hope sure until the end. This is so you won’t be lazy but follow the example of the ones who inherit the promises through faith and patience.” Heb. 6:11-12 CEB
Let Go of the Past
Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.” Col. 3:10 NLT
You have been given a new nature and identity in Christ. Let go of the old garment, and wear your new garment (nature). You must be intentional about wearing your new nature.
The children of Israel left Egypt as slaves, but God wanted to bring them into new identity and inheritance. However, they kept looking to their past—false identity, false provision, and false destiny. They needed to let go of their past and their sin!
You can’t “manage” your sin – you must give it to Jesus at the foot of the cross. You repent, surrender, and let God guide and transform you. You can’t move forward carrying the weight of sin or past failures. Confess it, and let it go!
Choose to live in the freedom Christ gives – it’s your lifestyle that others are watching. Forgive each other. Make allowances for one another’s faults. Love the sinner. Pray for them, show them Christ. Most people know they’re in sin; what they need is love. Love them and God will do the rest
For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite (repentant) ones.” Isa. 57:15 NKJV
Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?” Is. 43:19a
Many fear transitions. To grow in grace you must confront fear, and draw close to God. Fear will paralyze you from moving forward. Take the first step to do what God is leading you into; He might be speaking to you about:
- Starting a bible study
- Joining or starting a small group
- Starting new education, a new business, or ministry etc.
Remember, we don’t want to be like the man who buried his talent. Invest with what God has given you. To grow in grace and realize your dreams, you must take risks and invest your life. Push past the fear and embrace change. Look to Jesus for more faith, you can trust Him!
Be willing to break out of old religious patterns. Don’t memorialize the songs or ministry style of the past—that’s a religious spirit. Change is your friend. Remember, the mission of Christ is the same, but methods and style needs to adapt to fit with current culture. Don’t get offended when God begins to do a “new thing.”
Deepen Your Godly Relationships
As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” Prov. 27:17
Iron sharpens iron — we need each other!
To grow in grace, you need to grow in your love and relationships. Surround yourself with mature believers who will help hold you accountable and who will help disciple you. Allow yourself to be discipled, and disciple others. Jesus is our example – He used an apprenticeship style of discipleship.
Surround yourself with strong believers, those who want God’s presence. Ask one another the hard questions: “How are you doing in your marriage?” “How’s your prayer life going?”
You may need some new friends! Leave relationships that pull you away from God. Aim to be friendly, it’s a great thing to make new friends who are strong in the Lord.
Roadblocks and hindrances can get in our way. Don’t let them stop you! Chose to find alternative routes, and continue growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord. Walk in freedom today!
For a more in-depth look at Hindrances to Growing in Grace, watch my recent sermon from Passion Church here.