With all that we have learned this week about personal growth, we can conclude that God loves us and cares about every aspect of our lives. He has set expectations for how we ought to live on earth. He has set us apart and desires that we live in that reality.
1 Peter 1:15-17 (NLT)
15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”[a]
17 And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.”
Holiness may seem outside of our reach, however God, who has fashioned us and set us apart for His special use, have given us the tools we need to live in progressive sanctification. Being new creatures in Christ, we no longer have a relationship with the sin. We now have a responsibility as born-again believers, to commit ourselves to the development and growth of becoming like Christ.
Wanting and seeking improvement in the various aspects of life (spiritual, emotional, social, mental, physical, financial) is a good desire because God, who is excellent and has given us everything for our enjoyment, requires that we develop Godly qualities and virtues that will inevitably attract good success to us. Also, the achievement of material and financial success are not the antithesis to the kingdom of God, however our heavenly father who knows all things, wants us to put our trust in Him and not the things of this world. So that whatever we achieve or desire to achieve will be used to bring Him glory.
Timothy 6:17-18 (NLT)
17 Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. 18 Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.
God who knows our hearts and searches our motives, knew that we could not achieve holiness outside of Him. He has given us His Holy Spirit, to lead us, guide us, and keep us from falling. His infallible Word has been documented as a guide for how we should live. And, His unfailing love is always present to remind us that we belong to Him and to show mercy towards us when we make a mistake.
As we look at personal growth as God’s people, we must always look at scripture to guide us in the way that we should go. While there are many personal benefits to self improvement, our motives should always be to please God first.
Mark 12:30 (NLT)
30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’
Matthew 6:33, tells us that we should seek first God’s Kingdom and His righteousness and what we need, will be given to us. If we can truly grasp and commit to seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness above everything else, we will receive personal benefits and our desires fulfilled.
1 John 3:22 (NIV)
22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him.While living on Earth, we must never be driven by earthly desires because we are no longer of this world. Our goals and aspirations should always reflect our desire to advance God’s Kingdom.
When we were slaves to sin, our personal growth and our desire to achieve were, in most cases, driven by pride and other carnal ambitions. Now that we are citizens of God’s kingdom, our desire to improve self and achieve, should be driven by the fervent love for God and others, and to ultimately advance God’s kingdom on the earth.