After we have been saved, we begin the journey of growth and transformation, to becoming more and more like Christ (Rom 8:29). In the process of growth, we don't rely on our own ability but depend on the new identity and the Christ within (Col 1:27, 2Co 4:7). We are to live out our salvation (Phi 2:12b).
When we are saved, it is our spirit that is born anew (The Tripartite Man). Our soul and body remain the same. God did not remove our past but just change our spiritual identity. Our new identity is strong enough to face up the hurts of the past and overcome the challenges ahead. We are complete in Christ Col 2:10. Christ has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness 2 Pet 1:3. We just need to feed and let the new identity grows up and lead our soul and body. In this growth process, we are to learn how to use the power of God within to overcome our past and live up to the new image of Christ (See Christ within and Glory without in How to be King).
Two Forces at Work
There are two forces at work as shown in the diagram below:
1. One is the resistance to stop our growth.
- Our sins and past hurts in our Souls would like to drag us down
- Our past unsettled sin, disobedience. Sins that we face up with confessed and repented will not bind us. While God forgives all our sins, past, present, and even future through Christ Jesus' full payment on the Cross two thousand years ago, we have to face up with our sins to break free from them.
- Soul Hurts: refer to emotional wounds, rejections, abuses that we suffered in the past. Some of the hurts we retain as bitterness and hatred. Others were stored in our subconscious and raised up now and then to trouble us.
- Ungodly Beliefs (or Wrong Belief about the Truth) such as thinking of God not as a loving Father but as a fearful, judgmental and vengeful God really to catch and punish sins. Performance for acceptance and love is also a big lie that binds us in insecurity. See Journey of Life - Victory or Defeat.
- Generation Curse. The curse of ancestor sins not dealt with.
- Mental Illness.
- Devil's resistance.
The devil will like to harass us and resist our growth. The devil will
- do it directly or
- uses others and (e.g. Using Peter in 16:23 to stop Jesus to go the cross)
- even circumstances
- New Identity of Godly character, righteousness. Talents are given by God. The key is focused on the Holy Spirit, the strength and talents that God has given, and managing the weaknesses. Good habits formation and character development take time. Hope, focus on the future good, the prize, forgetting the past, as Paul exhorted us in Php 3:12-14.
- Holy Spirit & Christ within, spiritual gifts, guidance, motivation.
The strategies for our growth are based on 2 verses in the Bible.
1. To grow, we could get rid of the load of past sins and past emotional baggage.
This is done through inner healing methods like TPM (Theophostic Prayer Ministry), Dr. Grant Mullen "Emotionally Free", and where the Bible and Holy Spirit is involved in facing the hurts, the lies, the forgiveness, and the healing with the love of God (Rom 8:2)
This 1st strategy only returns a person to normal. It is not enough for excellent and victorious living. We need to apply the 2nd strategy.
2. To move towards our Unique Calling and the Vision that God has set for us.
We must discover for ourselves, our unique calling from God. Our unique calling is related to the talents or giftings that God has so created us. On top of these talents, we acquire skills and knowledge that result in strengths for achieving high performance. We also rely on the Spiritual Gifts(1Cor 12) that God has given to each of us. We live and walk by the Spirit, Gal 5:18, 22-25. (* thanks to Desmond for pointing out this error, change to Gal from Rom in the original posting).
The various growth models are shown in the diagram below:
- For John's Model of "Child-Adult-Father" see Bible Study 1 John Chapter 2 The Stages of Spiritual Growth.
- See also Five Habits for Effective Christian Living
- For the Six Stage Spiritual Growth Model see Stages of Faith: A Map for the Spiritual Journey(the linked file no longer exists), can refer to this or this