Do you need grace today?
Do you desire to grow in grace this year?
I suppose these are questions with self-evident answers. We know we need God’s grace, and we know Scripture commands us to grow in grace.
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.—2 Peter 3:18
This is what we desire for our lives as well as for the lives of those to whom we minister.
But how? How do we grow in grace? And what does growth in grace look like on a practical level?
God’s grace is not static; it is dynamic. It brings real change in our lives and compels us to increased growth. If you want to grow in grace, here are three areas where grace works:
1. Grow in His Love
Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.—Ephesians 6:24
God’s love is a fruitful love. Love itself is a fruit of the Holy Spirit’s work in the life of a yielded Christian (Galatians 5:22), and it is this love that compels us to continue in service for Christ.
For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.—2 Corinthians 5:14–15
A grace-filled Christian is a loving Christian—someone who rests in God’s love for him, does not neglect truth but is bound to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:14–15), and is constrained by God’s love to serve others.
So, if you want to grow in grace, begin by growing in God’s love.
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.—Ephesians 3:19
2. Grow in His Likeness
God’s grace makes us like Jesus. It is the grace of God working within us that is responsible for a lifestyle (conversation in the verse below) that represents Christ to the world.
For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.—2 Corinthians 1:12
Of course, we know that God’s ultimate plan for us is to conform us to the image of Christ and that He will make every detail of our lives work together toward that goal.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son…—Romans 8:28–29
But God’s grace also gives us comfort through the seasons of difficulty that are part of this path. Even as Jesus was full of grace, He imparts His grace to us.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.—2 Corinthians 12:9
You’ve heard it said: “Nearness is likeness.” If we are walking near Jesus, His likeness will become evident in us, by His grace.
3. Grow in His Labor
God’s grace moves us to action. Yes, it begins with growing in God’s love and likeness, but it doesn’t end there. It moves us to labor in the work of God for souls.
This requires that we are ready always to share the gospel and that we purposefully go to others with the gospel.
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:—1 Peter 3:15
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.—Mark 16:15
It also means that we labor in transferring truth to the next generation of Christian servants.
Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.—2 Timothy 2:1–2
We can only remain faithful in God’s work by God’s grace.
The Alternative to Growing in Grace
Sometimes we subconsciously think that the alternative to pursuing growth in grace is just taking a break. We think it’s a moment of rest and that we can pick up again whenever we feel ready.
Yet, the verse we all know—2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in grace…”—is preceded by a verse of warning.
Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.—2 Peter 3:17
We will either grow in grace, or we will fall from faithfulness. Being stagnant isn’t an option.
Could I encourage you then, will you make a commitment to grow in grace this year?