Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Stages of the Christian Life

In Touch Daily Devotional
by Dr. Charles Stanley

The Stages of the Christian Life -- Colossians 3:1-5

The Holy Spirit will lead us through stages that promote Christian maturity--salvation, service, dependence, and the exchanged life. While spiritual growth takes place at different rates and in different ways, all believers are on the same journey with one goal--transformation into Christ's image.

Dependence on God, an important part of spiritual maturity, is often learned as we serve Him. As we work, our own inadequacies will frustrate us, and we will be tempted to give up. Or we may find ourselves falling back into ungodly habits, even though we don't want that to happen (Romans 7:19). A key lesson in this stage is to relinquish control and allow the Spirit to direct and help us--in other words, to live by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Whenever we struggle, we're to turn toward the Lord in dependence upon Him. At the same time, when we study His Word, our minds will be redirected to think biblically. Then we can accept God's truth and leave behind messages we've taken in from our upbringing and culture that do not match His perspective.

The final stage is what's known as the exchanged life. We embrace the truth that the only way to live the Christian life is to let the Holy Spirit live Christ's life through us. We make a commitment to God to surrender selfish desires and seek only what He wants. Once we make this exchange, we'll experience more of the freedom and joy Jesus promised to His followers.

Spiritual growth requires our cooperation. How willing are you to grow?

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