(This was originally posted on February 4, 2020)
How does a person grow in their relationship with God? Is Christian growth an active or passive experience?
Paul’s letter to the Philippians seems to indicate that our spiritual journey is both active and passive. He told the Philippian believers that they were to “work out their own salvation with fear and trembling” Active. Then he follows with, “for it is God who works in you…” Passive.
We have to put forth Spirit enabled and dependent effort if we are to grow in Christ. A book to help you put in the Spirit-dependent effort required is David Mathis’ Habits of Grace. Here is an excerpt from the Introduction:
I can flip a switch, but I don’t provide the electricity. I can turn on a faucet, but I don’t make the water flow. There will be no light and no liquid refreshment without someone else providing it. And so it is for the Christian with the ongoing grace of God. His grace is essential for our spiritual lives, but we don’t control the supply. We can’t make the favor of God flow, but he has given us circuits to connect and pipes to open expectantly. There are paths along which he has promised his favor.
Mathis structures his book in four main parts: Hear His Voice (Word), Have His Ear (Prayer), Belong to His Body (Fellowship) and then finishes with some practical advice about our commission, time, and money when it comes to living in and growing by God’s grace.
I share this post with you today for two reasons:
1. I highly recommend the book and think you should read it this year. You can get a free pdf download here.
2. The author will be in Madison on March 20-21 for a seminar at my friend’s church. It will be a free seminar, and I would love to see you there. You can find out more about the event (and register) here.
Have you read Habits of Grace? If so, what did you think? Will I see you at the seminar?
 David Mathis, Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual Disciplines (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2016), 25.