What Place Do Ideas For Spiritual Growth Have?

As regards good things to learn and do for spiritual growth...

1) I believe the Christian life is first and foremost internal.

(The following are not Ordo salutis - they are not meant to be in any order of what happens first, second, etc. as regards our salvation - but are some of the many things that happen in conjunction with our salvation.)

. Our once dead spirit is made alive by God. His Holy Spirit takes up residence in us. God justifies us (declares us righteous with a righteousness not our own but that of Jesus Christ). God works in us, in our inner man, conforming us to Christ's image. He does all these things and much more!

~AND~

2) I believe the internal Christian life we have will be seen externally.

. God works in our outer man. He leads us in paths of righteousness for His name's sake - which includes righteous living, righteous actions. Our old man and the associated deeds of the flesh, and all darkness, has been (and is being) put off, our mind has been (and is being) renewed, and our new man (with all our actions - what we do, how we live, as seen and experienced by others) has begun (and will continue) to resemble Jesus more and more according to what He has done (and is doing - and will perfect unto completion) in us internally first, as well as externally.

a. We are inwardly being renewed in our mind
(by His power, through His Word)

b. which transforms (is transforming) our life
(inwardly, and outwardly)
(Romans 12:2b)

The point?

God is at work in us both internally AND in our outer man (which includes our actions). He is at the helm in it all.

He is doing His work in us
to will (desire and choose in the inner man)
and to do (our actions as seen in the outer man)
of His good pleasure.
(Philippians 2:13)

Our inner man WILL give rise to changed outer actions. We WILL show our inner person - our faith in God - by our actions, by what we do, by how we live. (James 2:18b)

So that all things we do - and we are to do things, to act (all things initiated by God, directed by His Word, empowered by His Spirit, sustained by God) are truly helpful toward a holy walk before Him.

And this is where we place all ideas for good spiritual growth. They are things we can do that He might be pleased to use to accomplish His will for our life - things which can be His tools. But none of them are essential. They are good to learn and become skilled in, being beneficial and profitable, but they do not produce holiness. God can use them toward that end, but they themselves can never accomplish what only God, His Word, and His Holy Spirit can in a person. Doing works of holiness can never make us holy, but they can show the work He has done (and is doing) in us - they can show the faith He has given us that we now exercise in Him and live out.

A verse that helps explain our daily experience of pursuing spiritual growth things - because of and as we abide in the living Christ Who now resides in us (broken into sections to help clarify this important point) :

I have been crucified with Christ
and it is no longer I who live,
but Christ lives in me;

~AND~

the life which I now live in the flesh
I live
by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
(Galatians 2:20)

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