God wants each of us to be in a vibrant, growing relationship with Jesus Christ. This is not just for the exceptional “Navy Seal” special forces type of Christian, but also for every son or daughter of God. We imagine that “Seals” have a special thing going with God that the rest of us aren’t privy to. But growth isn’t reserved for just “pastors” or a select few. Everybody can grow one step of obedience at a time. Paul told the church of Thessalonica, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified”, clearly stating that God desires us to grow in our personal holiness. Growth is God’s general will for all His children.
Not only God desires us to grow, but we also desire it. As believers, the Holy Spirit lives in us and serves as a compass to point us Godward to growth according to His values. Our desires begin to change, making us long for holiness, not for sin. Growth does not come from a list of rules keeping or activity making or Bible reading or church attendance. It comes from a new set of values lived from the inside out. Spiritual growth stems from changed values. When we value God more than some otherworldly thing, growth occurs as a result of that judgment. As we value Christ more than the urgencies of the day, growth will come.
Do I value Christ above all else? If I do, then those activities that used to be “spiritual have-tos” will instead become “want-tos,” and I will begin to respond to God not out of legalism but out of love. When I judge Him to be more important than anything else, I grow. When I say, “Jesus, I value you more than three hours of mindless television,” I grow. The amount of worth I place on knowing Jesus determines how genuinely I will relate to Him. The process loop goes something like this: Valuing Christ highly results in a desire to hear from Him, and the more I hear from Him, the more I value Him. Simply put, value precedes action. So together with the first “orange” of relationship, I add the second “orange” of growth. God desires all of us to be in a growing relationship with Him—and no matter your place in life, He makes that available to us all.