Principles of Spiritual Growthby Miles J. Stanford
Consecration-Which life is to be consecrated to Him-the old self-life, or the new Christ-life? God can accept absolutely nothing from the old-He sees and acknowledges only that which is centered in His Son, who is our Life. “Yield yourselves unto God, as…alive from the dead” (Rom. 6:13). It is utterly futile to expect a believer, by means of consecration, surrender or commitment, to step from his ground of substitution as spoken of in Romans 3-5 on to that of the deeper truths in Romans 8 and 12:1. There is an all-important area of identification truth in Romans 6, 7 that cannot be skipped over. It is the man who is conscious of his own impotence as a believer who will learn that by the Holy Spirit he can lead a holy life.
Self-In order for one to get beyond just knowing about the Lord Jesus and enter into a consistent and growing personal knowledge of, and fellowship with, Him, one must first come to know oneself. It is the Holy Spirit who reveals the self-life to the believer. The Holy Spirit will teach us “Not I, but Christ” (Gal. 2:20).
Self-denial-As we learn to stand on the finished work of Calvary, the Holy Spirit will begin to faithfully and effectively apply that finished work of the cross to the self-life, thereby holding it in the place of death-inactive-resulting in the “not I, but Christ’ life (Gal. 2:20).
The cross- Our intelligent faith, standing on the facts of Calvary, gives the Holy Spirit freedom to bring that finished work into our daily lives. Calvary is the secret of it all. It is what He did there that counts, and what He did becomes a force in the life of a Christian when it is appropriated by faith. This is the starting point from which all Godly living must take its rise.
Discipleship-A disciple is one who is free from the old and free for the new.
Process of discipleship-All that is not Christ, no matter how nice in appearance and profession, is revealed for what it is-just self. There is a stripping, right down to the germ of life, right on down until there is nothing left but Christ, who is our life. Down, Down into death (see John 12:24).
Rest-True activity is that which springs out of, and is ever accompanied by, rest. It is only as we know what it is to be “still,” that we are ready to “go forward.” “We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.”
Help-Christian living is not our living with Christ’s help, it is Christ living His life in us.
Cultivation-Each of us must be thoroughly cultivated before He can effectively cultivate others through us. It is not that there will be no service for us until we are spiritually mature but that most of our service on the way to maturity is for our own development, not so much that of others. To the extent that we learn how our Father has had to handle us through the years will we understand how He would have us share with others. We must be cultivated to be cultivators.