Don’t you just love to see a new believer’s zeal for God? They’re on fire for God and have faith like a child; believing whatever the Bible says and loving everybody!
This zeal is kind of like newlyweds. They could care less about each other’s flaws, or irritations. All they know, is that they are in love and their love will conquer anything life throws their way.
That’s until, the kids come, financial woes occur, and what was once cute is now irritating. Well don’t we get that way with God and His Word?
In The Beginning
When we first come to know Christ, we’re excited to learn through His Word. Until we get set in our ways and read something our hearts aren’t ready to change just yet.
Then something happens to us along the way. We mature in our walk with God. We read things we’ve read before, and now we see the Word differently. It hits our hearts in ways it never did. Suddenly, we find the errors of our ways; working towards changing them.
And then……it happens.
We now think everyone needs to know what we know and change too!
The Shift of Change
We don’t know about you, but we’ve learned this approach does not work. The only way to help encourage one another to grow in Christ, is to give each other the time to grow in GRACE.
People need time to grow into the knowledge of who they are in Christ as they grow through change.
This is not easy to do, not because we think we’re wrong in our assumption that everyone needs what we know (we will let that simmer). However, this is the most difficult; because when the blinders come off our eyes, we want so badly for the people around us to grow in their relationship with God too.
The problem with this, is that we want them to learn what God showed us on our timetable.
Serving in Church leadership for over 15 years, has shown us that we cannot want change for our people more than they do. They have to want it for themselves. In which, our responsibility is to love and give them the time they need to grow in grace.
Although this can be challenging, it is possible to give each other time to grow in grace by understanding these three principles.
# 1 Recognize Our Need to Learn
No matter how long you have been a believer in Christ; we all need to time learn who we are in Him and what’s available to us through Him.
We will never be done learning until we get to Heaven. And the best way for one to understand God’s Word is to study it for him or herself.
Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].
~ Romans 12:1 (AMPC)
Did you catch the key phrase in this verse? It says; “…so that you may prove for yourselves…”
Part of extending the time for others to grow in grace starts with each of us giving ourselves time to grow in the things of God. In other words…
You can disagree with God’s Word all you want. However, as soon His Word becomes the air you breathe; where you read it, study it, know it and start to believe it; that’s when you will grow in grace.
And, that enlightening experience is what’s necessary for each person to experience on their own time. That has to be caught not taught.
#2 Recognize We Each Have Our Own Convictions
When we grow in our faith, we must resist the temptation to tell the world and insist they begin to change their thinking with our new enlightened of God’s Word.
Growing up in our faith instead of growing old in our faith is exciting. And of course we want to share it with those we love. However, we must purpose to hold our convictions to ourselves and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us, as far as when we should share it.
When we think about this principle, what comes to mind is Romans Chapter 14. In your study time, we would encourage you to read the entire chapter. However for this blog post we want to focus on verse 22 that says…
Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. ~ Romans 14:22 (NKJV)
If that doesn’t touch your heart, let’s try reading this in The Message Version.
Romans 14:22-23(The Message) says; “Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don’t impose it on others. You’re fortunate if your behavior and your belief are coherent. But if you’re not sure, if you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe—some days trying to impose your opinions on others, other days just trying to please them—then you know that you’re out of line. If the way you live isn’t consistent with what you believe, then it’s wrong.”
Bottom line, what God has shown you is for YOU. It’s not for you to demand and debate what you believe to someone else who may be at a different place spiritually.
We all have areas in our faith that we need to grow. It’s one thing to encourage one another and share from our experiences of what God showed us.
However, it’s completely a different thing when we demand that people should change their way of thinking to line up with our new enlightenment in our personal spiritual journey.
There have been times we’ve sat through counseling sessions listening to people who are experiencing hardships we’ve endured in the past. And we have to hold ourselves back from sharing too much, because we realized until God shows it to them, it’s for them to discover.
For there to be true change, real change, God needs to reveal it to them through the Holy Spirit. Sure we can counsel and encourage and point them to scripture. But their way of thinking will only change when they experience God for themselves.
Until then, we need to walk in love while giving them time to grow. And that might mean we will have to extend a little EGR.
# 3 Give A Little E.G.R.
Our beloved mentors used to tell us, in ministry, there will be people on our teams, we may need to extend a little E.G.R. Huh?
That’s what we thought too. Until they explained E.G.R. was an acronym for; Extra Grace Required.
We need E.G.R. at one point, and we’re so glad our mentors extended E.G.R. to us. As it was through our discipleship with them that we grew into the knowledge of who we are in Christ.
We grew in our roles as husband and wives, parents and eventually discovered our purpose in ministry. If it wasn’t for the E.G.R.they extended, we don’t know what our life would look like right now.
Do You Know Someone That Can Use Some E.G.R.?
If you know someone who could use a little E.G.R., be patient and continue to pray for them. Don’t grow weary in sowing into them and cheering them on. As this will help them grow into the man or woman God has called them to be.
When we allow each other the time to grow into the knowledge of God’s grace, we become a stronger and unified family unit.
We are all a part of The Body of Christ. And when we choose to walk in love and extend each other grace, we become the spotless bride Christ is returning for.
On the other hand, when we judge, harp on our disagreements, and insist that others see things our way, it only opens the door to more ungodliness, and division.
So what will it be for you? Will you give others the time they need to grow in grace?
This post has been shared on Grace and Truth a weekly Christian link up.
~ André and Timberley Gray