This word is somewhat of a mystery to many Christians today. A lot of people see it as a "job" of a leader. Some see it as the responsibility of a church. Others see growth as something uncontrollable.
My 18 month old is learning to talk. Which is terrifying. He repeats everything, so I've had to make sure my wife quit cussing. That's sarcasm - aka she doesn't cuss. At least not that much. He learned two words in the same day. Two words that terrified me as a dad.
He learned "No" and "mine" all in the same day. What a day to be a dad.
He doesn't know what they mean entirely yet, and he doesn't place an attitude behind those words yet. BUT I know the day will come when he will try.
When he said those two words in the same day, something hit me. I think Christians, myself included, fall into the trap of saying "no" to God's Word, and "mine" to His Church. What happens when we do those two things is we place our growth as Christians in our preferences over God's presence.
There are two words that I believe not only conquer the preference trap, but also guide us into true growth as believers: consistency and obedience. Two words you don't hear much about in a selfie centered, social media, fast food world.
If you want to grow in your relationship with Jesus, it requires perseverance and obedience. You probably don't need to know more about the Bible, although that's great. You probably need to obey what you know and persevere to obey no matter what consistently.
You and I know gossip is a sin. It's not only hurtful to the person you talk about, it's also dangerous to your own soul. If we would just obey God in encouraging others instead of gossiping about others, we'd see growth in our life. You and I know we should read our Bible to hear from God. You and I know we should pray to return our burdens and praise back to God. You and I know to love our neighbor. If we would obey the things we already know consistently our lives would change.
If you're a Christian, Jesus has rescued you from your sin. If you're a Christian, you should be following Jesus. In John 14, Jesus says, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." Jesus left two commandments: Love God. Love people. The rest of the New Testament is essentially commentary on how to love God and love people.
If you want to see growth in your faith, try consistent obedience. Obedience that doesn't say "no." Consistency that doesn't look at preference for when obedience occurs. Consistent obedience that only you are responsible for and can control.
Are you obeying his commandments consistently? Or are you obeying when it's convenient.