All young men want to grow – you want to grow in muscles, in popularity, in money, and so on. But God says, “Grow in grace” (2 Pet. 3:18). That’s the most important area to grow in and it involves not muscles, not likes and followers, not dollars and cents. It concerns character.
The graces we are to grow in are found in a number of Biblical lists: the Beatitudes’ in Matthew 5, the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5, the various dimensions of love in 1 Corinthians 13. But where do we start?
Pray: Pray that God would help you choose the grace that he wants you to work on and ask for his help in doing so. Maybe think of an area where you feel especially weak.
Choose: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23). Read through this list and choose one fruit of the Spirit, one grace, perhaps longsuffering, meaning patience.
Focus: Concentrate on that one grace for a month. Start by doing a Word searchfor the words “patience” or “longsuffering” in the Bible and read or print out the verses for reading. You can do a word search on most Bible appsor Bible websites. Look especially for God’s patience and Christ’s patience in the Bible as your models. Write out a few verses to memorize over the coming weeks.
Listen: Listen to some sermons on patience. Go to sermonaudio.com, enter the topic “patience” and select sermons on patience by pastors you’ve heard of before. Try to listen to a couple of sermons a week.
Do: Pray for help to see where and when and with whom you need this grace. Then do it. Practice the grace. Like an unused muscle, it’s going to be hard at first, but it will get stronger and easier with practice.
Accountability: Ask a friend or wife or girlfriend to keep you accountable. Tell them you are doing this, ask for prayer, correction, and encouragement.
Add: After doing this for a month or two, pick another grace and do the same. And keep doing this through the rest of your life. The key is to be focused on one grace or virtue at a time, to concentrate all your efforts on this for a short time, to use Scripture and the example of Christ to guide you, pray every day for God to bless your efforts, and keep the momentum going by choosing the next grace. Strengthening one will strengthen them all.
Multiply: Aim to be hyper-fruitful. The parable of the sower noted that some ground multiplied the seed 30 times, some 50 times, and some 100 times. Aim for 100 times. Let’s get going guys until you have a six pack of graces and God looks at your graces and says “You are spiritually ripped.”
Pray: Pray for the Holy Spirit to water and grow each grace. Without him we can do nothing.
Real men grow in grace.
1. Read Matthew 5 or Galatians 5 together with a friend and discuss with them which of these graces or fruits you need to grow in most.
2. Ask your friend for help in producing a plan for growth in one of these graces or fruits over the next month. Include the sermons you will listen to, the book you will read, and the verses you will study or memorize.
3. How will you know if you’ve grown in this area? What evidence will you or others look for?
Here’s a series on Growing in Grace by Tim Lane.
- Step One: Look to Christ
- Step Two: Look for Evidence of the Spirit’s Work in Your Life
- Step Three: Rightly Pay Attention to Your Circumstances
- Step Four: Identify Unproductive Coping Strategies and Ungodly Responses
- Step Five: Ask the “Why?” and “What?” Questions
- Step Six: Remember Change is All About Relationship
- Step Seven: Experience Internal Transformation
- Step Eight: Produce Noticeable Fruit