Not to grow is to remain in your sin and pollution. Would you who have been washed in the blood of Christ, have become partakers of the spirit of sanctification, are the children of God, have become the bride of the holy Jesus – will you continue in your sorrow and remain in your pollution? Oh, let it not be thus! Be no longer disobedient to God your Father. Disentangle yourself from the bondage of pollution, expel sin, and flee from it. The more you grow, the more you will distance yourself from sin; and the more you distance yourself from sin, the more you will grow.
The more one grows, the more the image of God will become manifest, and the more likeness to God there will be – for that is the perfection held before us. You already do grieve, however, that you are so far from God, and with all your desire you long to be near to God. It is your only and all-satisfying comfort to live in blessed communion with God. Of all this there is a small beginning in you and there is the certainty that this suggested perfection is to be attained. Would you not then pursue that which you love so much; would you not then make this your objective and endeavor to come closer to achieving this? Yes, it has already been prepared for you and God stands ready to give it to you. He holds it, so to speak, in His hand and calls you but to come in order that what is behind you and “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”.
The more one grows, the more pleasing he will be to God. A father is delighted when his children grow, and one rejoices when he observes the growth of trees he has planted. Since, however, God takes pleasure in the growth of His children, having regenerated them by his will and according to the Word of His truth, and since He delights Himself in the garden and the trees which He himself has planted there, should we then not endeavor to be pleasing unto the Lord and to become “His pleasant plant” (Isa 5:7)?
God is glorified by our growth, for therein it becomes apparent that He is neither a barren nor a howling wilderness to His children, but that He is good, benevolent, faithful, holy, and omnipotent. The Lord will grant many comforts to those who grow, so that they will find much delight and joy in their growth.
Wilhelmus A. Brakel, The Christian’s Reasonable Service Vol. 4
In the footer of ws harbor are numerous helpful resources and one of those is a collection of daily readings by Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Below is today’s reading taken from the highly recommended Studies in the Sermon on the Mount.
Freedom from sin’s desires
[The desire for righteousness] means a desire to be free from sin, because sin separates us from God. Therefore, positively, it means a desire to be right with God … All the trouble in the world today is due to the fact that man is not right with God, for it is because he is not right with God that he has gone wrong everywhere else … The man who hungers and thirsts after righteousness is the man who sees that sin and rebellion have separated him from the face of God, and longs to get back into that old relationship …
But it also means of necessity a desire to be free from the power of sin … The man we have been looking at … is a man who has come to see that the world in which he lives is controlled by sin and Satan … He sees that ‘the god of this world’ has been blinding him … He wants to get away from this power that drags him down in spite of himself [see Romans 7]. He wants to be free from the power and the tyranny and thraldom of sin …
But it goes further still. It means a desire to be free from the very desire for sin, because we find that the man who truly examines himself in the light of the Scriptures not only discovers that he is in the bondage of sin; still more horrible is the fact that he likes it, that he wants it. Even after he has seen it is wrong, he still wants it. But now the man who hungers and thirsts after righteousness is a man who wants to get rid of that desire for sin, not only outside, but inside as well … Sin is something that pollutes the very essence of our being and of our nature. The Christian is one who desires to be free from all that … To hunger and thirst after righteousness is to desire to be free from self in all its horrible manifestations, in all its forms … the man who hungers and thirsts after righteousness … wants to be emancipated from self-concern in every shape and form.