2 Peter 3.18 but grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
How do you measure your growth as a Christian? By the number of bible verses you memorize? But the number of times that you attend church or growth group meetings? By the number of translations or books in your library? By your ability to fluently recite the orthodox creeds of the faith?
While all of those things may indeed be an indication of your growing in the grace of Christ, they are not in and of themselves the way we measure spiritual growth. This is clear throughout the book of Job and his dialogue with his three friends. The note in The Reformation Study Bible in Job 26 beautifully points this out. “Orthodox theology is important, and it must be guarded, but orthodoxy in the head without its proper application to the heart does little good (v. 1). Job in no way disputed Bildad’s theology, and he indeed even expanded on it. God is infinitely great. Yet Bildad failed to apply the truth to Job in a way that helped him. We must learn to receive and apply biblical truth with faithful love and grace so that we might find and share true spiritual comfort.”
We grow by applying what we learn in Scripture. We grow by doing, not by knowing alone. That’s what James tells us, doesn’t he? Faith does come by hearing God’s Word, but growth and fruit comes by application. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. The fruit of The Spirit isn’t a description of information, it is a description of the fruit of God’s Spirit in the life of those who apply God’s Word to their lives.