In this message, Dr. Stanley tells us that it was predetermined that we would be saved to grow and conform to the likeness of Jesus Christ. As believers, if we don’t grow, there’s something wrong with us. Dr. Stanley teaches us how to judge, test, and gauge our growth as Christians. He also explains how we can change our conversations, our conduct, and our character. For more messages from Charles Stanley, including this week’s broadcast, go to

Start your day off right with

the free In Touch devotional.

Subscribe today.




male announcer: “In Touch,” the
teaching ministry of Dr. Charles

Stanley, reaching the world with
the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Next on “In Touch,”
“Moving Toward Maturity.”

Dr. Charles Stanley:
When a child is born, you

expect that child to grow.

And after a few weeks, maybe,
or a few months and you think,

something’s wrong,
this child’s not growing.

Because it’s
natural for them to grow.

When you were born
again as a child of God,

you became just
that: a child of God.

And likewise, you and I
are expected to grow.

Now, being born again means that
God has forgiven us of our sins

and He’s brought us into a
personal relationship with Him,

that’s salvation,
that’s being born again.

So being born again, we as
believers, if we don’t grow,

there’s something wrong with
us, because God intends for us

to grow and to grow and
to grow till the day we die.

We’re to grow spiritually.

And if you’re not growing
in your Christian

life, there’s something wrong.

You say, “Well,
how will I know?”

If you’ll listen
carefully to this message,

you’re going to find out
how to judge yourself,

test yourself, gauge yourself
as to if you’re growing as a

Christian or if
you’re stagnating.

Well, somebody says, “Well,
maybe I’m just stagnating.

I’m staying where I am.”

No, if you stagnate,
you don’t stay there,

you drift further and further
and further away from God

if you are not growing.

And I want to show you the
warnings that he tells us

here in Second Peter.

So, if you’ll turn
there for just a moment,

and in the first chapter, he
begins by reminding his readers

that God has given every–God
has given us everything we need

to be the persons
He wants us to be.

The second chapter, he reminds
us of the false doctrine that’s

floating around, causing
people not to grow

and leading them astray.

Then when he comes to this third
chapter, he tells us about all

the things that are
happening and will happen.

And he comes to this last
verse, and I will just read

just a few verses here.

Let’s go to the seventeenth
verse, “You therefore, beloved,

knowing this beforehand,”
that is, that difficult times

are coming, “beloved, knowing
this beforehand, be on your

guard so that you are not
carried away by the error of

unprincipled men and fall
from your own steadfastness.”

And then he makes
this statement.

Here’s where I’m coming to.

“But grow in the grace and
knowledge of our Lord

and Savior Jesus Christ.

To Him be glory, both now
and to the day of eternity.


Now, look at that verse.
He says but grow.

That’s an imperative.

And it happens to be in a Greek
tense that says this: grow and

keep on growing and keep on
growing and keep on growing,

not just grow to a point
but just keep on growing

in your Christian life.

And that’s what he’s
saying to us here.

So, when we think about that, we
think about why we should grow

and think about what does it
mean to grow in His grace?

Well, His grace, of course, is
His love and His undeserved

love and favor toward us.

And we’re to be
growing in that continually.

So we want to
answer the question,

first of all, why should we
endeavor to grow in the grace

and knowledge of our Lord
and Savior, Jesus Christ?

Why should we do it?

And so there are
three reasons, primarily.

The first one is that
He has predestined,

predetermined before you
were saved, before you were

saved, He predetermined
that you would grow.

That’s the will of God.

That’s the will of God
and plan for your life.

So he says in
Romans chapter eight,

that twenty-ninth verse, that He
predetermined or “He predestined

us to be conformed to
the image of His Son.”

If I’m becoming more and more
in the likeness of His Son,

I am changing in
my conversation,

my conduct, my character.

I’m growing.

So, ask yourself the question:
Is that happening in your life,

or is it not?

A second reason He wants us to
grow is in order to protect us,

to protect us from false ideas,
false prophets, as he said.

So I want to give you a few
verses of scripture that sound

just like our society today.

And he says one of the reasons
you need to keep growing is to

protect you in this
kind of environment.

So, their environment
was sort of like ours.

So, let’s look, if you will,
in that–look in the second

chapter, beginning
in the first verse.

He said, “But false prophets
also arose among the people,

just as there will be
false teachers among you,

who will secretly
introduce destructive heresies,

even denying the
Master,” that is Jesus,

“bringing swift
destruction upon themselves.

Many will follow
their sensuality,

and because of them the way of
the truth will be maligned;

And in their greed they will
exploit you with false words;

their judgment from
long ago is not idle,

and their destruction
is not sleep.”

He says He’s predestined us to
be conformed to the likeness of

His Son and He wants
to protect us in the

society in which you and I live.

And the third reason, He
says, our love for Jesus

and our knowledge of Him.

And so, God is very,
very interested

in our relationship to Him.

And His will is that
you and I are growing.

Now, nobody knows whether
you are growing but yourself.

But probably other people
who watch you, they can tell

by your conversation,
by your attitude,

by what you do,
by what you talk about,

all these things,
it indicates that somebody’s

either growing or not–
they’re not growing.

And if you look at
your life and you say,

“Well, ten years
ago, where was I?”

And you say, “Well, I’m better
where I was then,” then you’ve

been backsliding for ten years.

You say, “Well, I don’t
drink, I don’t smoke,

I don’t commit adultery, I
don’t do all these things.”

We’re not talking
about what you don’t do.

We’re talking about
who you are as a person,

growing in
likeness to Jesus Christ.

You say, “But He was
absolutely sinless.”

Yes, He was.

And that doesn’t mean that you
and I are going to reach a stage

of being sinless, but he
says He predestined us,

listen, to be–He predestined
us to become like

His Son, conformed to Him.

That is, as much
likeness as we can possibly be.

And in a few moments, when I
give you a list of things,

it doesn’t mean that every
single one of these things is

going to be true of you and that
you have to do every single one

of these things to be growing,
because we all come from

different backgrounds, we were
saved early and later in life,

we all have
different responsibilities,

and we grew up
with different attitudes.

But, in this list, you’re going
to be able to discover whether

you personally
are growing or not.

And if you’re not
growing, more than likely,

listen carefully, there’s
something you’re holding on to

that you shouldn’t
be holding on to.

People do not become born
again by the grace of God,

changed, our name written
in the Lamb’s Book of Life,

sealed by the Holy Spirit of
promise who lives within them,

and one who does not grow unless
that person is holding on to

something in their life that’s
keeping them from growing.

So, I’d ask you a question.

What just came to your mind
as soon as I mentioned that?

Because it did.

In other words, if you’re not
growing and you’re living in

sin, and you say, “Well,
I’m not living in sin.

I’ve got a few
sins but,” mm-mm-mm.

Listen, if I am continually
being conformed to His likeness,

you know what I’m doing?

I’m continually
being sanctified,

cleaning up anything.

Think about this.

Somebody says, “Well, I
think I’m doing pretty good.”

Okay, sir, if you had on
an absolute white suit,

beautifully white
suit, or ma’am,

you had on a beautiful
white wedding dress,

and we said, “Well, we’re
going down into this coal mine.”

You think you’re
going to come out white?

No, because it’s
going to rub off on you.

We are living in a society where
sin, whether it’s through the

television, where people
go, what they buy,

what they look at, what
they see, what they do,

our lives are easily
unclean if we’re not careful.

And the Bible talks
about sanctification.

A sanctified
life, if–watch this,

a sanctified life is a life
that is continually growing in

holiness, righteousness,
and obedience to God.

It doesn’t mean
that you’ll not sin.

But here’s what it means.

If you’re growing in Him,
you deal with it right then.

And when people
say, “Well, you know,

nobody’s perfect,
everybody’s got their sin.”

Not necessarily so.

It may be to have some
people have this

weakness or that
weakness, other,

but that doesn’t mean
they have their sin.

They may be battling with it.

They may be struggling to give
up with it and to lay it aside,

which is what we ought to be
doing if there’s something in

our life that’s not right.

And so, God has
intended that you grow.

And you were saved to grow
and to live in righteousness.

And so, what I’d like to do is
I’d like to give you a list of

things that are evidences
that you’re growing in the Lord,

or evidences that you’re not.

And I think you’ll agree
with every one of them.

You may not like them, but
you’ll have to agree that if I’m

growing, the
following things are true.

So, are you ready?
Say amen.

All right, number one.

If I’m growing in the Lord, I’m
becoming increasingly aware of

my sinfulness and my weaknesses.

I’m increasingly aware.
As I grow, I understand more.

I become more and more
sensitive to things in my life

that are not right.

As we come along in life,
things we don’t think about,

but the more you grow
into Christlikeness,

watch this, He gives you the
spiritual insight to see that

that doesn’t fit who you are.

And so one of the reasons we
know that we’re growing is we

become more and more
sensitive to sin in our life,

even little things, for example,
that you used to put up with.

Maybe words you used to say,
things you used to look at,

whatever it might be.

You become more
and more sensitive.

And here’s what happens,
the sensitivity is:

that doesn’t fit me.

That doesn’t indicate that
I’m being conformed

to the likeness of Christ.

A second thing is this: our
response to sin in our life is

quick, involving
genuine repentance.

That is, repentance means: I
am sorry for what happened,

I turn away from that,
I don’t want that in my life.

Listen, you don’t think it’ll
grow from nine o’clock in the

morning till eleven
o’clock at night?

Yes, it will.

The time to deal with
sin is immediately.

Lord, I want to ask You
to forgive me for that.

I’m ashamed of myself, and so I
want to handle it right now.

If you’re growing in your
Christian life, you don’t wait.

Number three, our spiritual
battles are becoming more and

more intense, and yet
we’re still rejoicing.

Now, if you’re growing
in your Christian

life, here’s what happens.

You begin to realize that
spiritual battles, listen,

are difficult and they’re hard,
but they’re opportunities.

In other words, you
realize, for example,

this is bothering me today.

And three months or
six months from now,

the same thing
happens, and you know what?

You say, “Thank You, Jesus.

Thank You, thank You,
thank You, dear Lord,

for sending that in my life,
because You’re showing me now I

can love You and I
can forgive them

with no problem whatsoever.”

So you can measure that.

Then of course, we begin to
see trials and temptations as

opportunities for growth.

In other words, God, I want
to thank You for how You’re

going to deal with
this in my life.

I’m going to trust you.

I don’t know exactly
what to do at this moment,

but I’m going to trust You’ll
show me how and I’m going to

deal with it and
You’ll bring me through it.

Then of course, we begin
to view service to Him

as a high honor, not a burden.

And I think how often people
say, “Well, you know, I go to

church and I just don’t have
time to serve in the church.”

You don’t have time.

Well, God could give you
time by taking away

your job and everything else.

But, in other words,
here’s the thing about it.

You have to find out what
does God want you to do?

We’re not saying that everybody
ought to preach and teach and

sing in the choir or lead the
music or do anything else we do.

But the truth is,
you and I have time.

You have time to visit
somebody who’s sick.

You have time to witness to
somebody who just opens the door

wide open for you
to share your faith.

You and I have times
to serve God in many,

many, many ways, and we
don’t see it as a burden.

For example, suppose I
saw sermon preparation,

which is a task,
for sure, every week,

not once in a
while, but every week,

’cause every sermon I want
to be the best I can do.

Suppose I saw that as a burden.


It’s one more
awesome opportunity,

listen, for me to–you
know who grows the most?

I do.

I discover things I’d
never discovered before,

see things in scripture I’d
never paid any attention to.

Here’s the thing about it.

Watch this, God is going to stir
you up enough and plow up your

ground enough that when
something new comes along,

you think, mmmmm,
how did I miss that, Lord?

The Christian life is
a wonderful, exciting journey,

because you’re
growing into Christlikeness.

You know you’re doing?

You’re putting yourself
in a position for God

to really bless you.

Look, He says, “My will
is to conform you

to the likeness of My Son.”

And so, when you think about
whether you’re growing or not,

see if that’s the truth.

Now, the next one is one
of the most important

lessons I’ve ever learned.

We’re able to view
everything as coming from Him.

That is probably one of
the–not probably, that is one

of the top lessons I’ve ever
learned in the Christian life.

You say, “Wait a
minute, everything

doesn’t come from Him.”

I didn’t say that.

I said we learn to see
everything as coming from Him.

In one of the
toughest battles of my life,

when I had lots and lots of
enemies who wanted to get rid of

me and did everything possible,
and in the prayer room one day,

it’s like the Lord said to me,
“You want to win this battle?

Do exactly what I tell you.

You see everything as coming
from Me, not them.

No matter what they
say, what they do,

how they treat you, you
see that as coming from Me,

because I could stop
it, but I’m allowing it.

And I’m allowing
it for a reason.

So, if you will see
that as coming from Me,

you won’t get angry.

You won’t get bitter.
You won’t get resentful.

You won’t get hostile.

They won’t even figure out
what in the world’s going on.

That they can do all of those
things and you’re just happy

about the whole situation.”

It is a powerful lesson
because it is the truth.

Nobody can do anything
to a child of God

unless He allows it.

If we’re going to grow
in our Christian life,

we have to lift our vision.

Lord, no matter what they say,
I’m going to say that’s coming

from–You must have known
that I needed that, Lord.

You’re testing my patience.
You’re testing my morals.

You’re testing this, testing
that, so I must need that.

Praise God!
Send them on.

And what happens
is, you’re able

to see a difference
in your life.

Then of course, we’ll sense when
our faith’s growing stronger.

You’ll be able to tell when
you’re growing stronger because

things that used to bother
you won’t bother you;

places you used to go,
you won’t go anymore;

things you used to want,
you don’t want anymore;

things you used to see,
you don’t see anymore.

And you thank Him,
seeing it as from Him,

and you’ll find your
faith growing stronger.

Then of course, if we are
growing in the Lord,

we’re going to spend
more time in worshipping

Him and praising Him.

This is why people–I don’t
understand people who don’t

go to church regularly.

Now, you may be in one of those
areas of this country, there’s

not a church within fifty miles.

I do realize there are some
places a long ways away or maybe

somebody in your home,
they can’t be left alone.

I’m sure there are exceptions.

But forget about the exceptions.

Why don’t you go to church?

You say, “I can live a
Christian life without it.”

Well, tell me what
you’re doing for Jesus.

Tell me about your–tell me
about how much time you’re

spending in prayer and worship.

I’m not saying
that people can’t.

I’m just saying simply this.

He says, “Forsake not the
assembling of yourselves

together as some do.”

You know why God
puts us together?

He puts us
together, for example,

to worship Him, to praise Him.

Now, I can worship the Lord
and praise God singularly

in my house, by myself.

I can shout or sing.

I can praise the Lord
and–or whatever it might be.

But it’s a whole lot more
powerful when I hear you sing

and we all praise the Lord and
we are all reading the scripture

and we’re just having a
good time praising God.

He wants us to praise Him.

And you know what’ll happen?

When you’re growing in the
Lord, you want to be a part of a

fellowship, you want
to grow in the Lord.

You’ll want to be in His Word.

You want to hear somebody
explain the Word of God.

You want to grow.

You want to see every
single time an opportunity.

Then, our desire to obey Him is
becoming more and more intense,

and sin is less
and less attractive.

The more you and I
live like Jesus,

the less and less we’re going
to put up with sin in our life.

And God wants us to
live a sanctified life.

Now, listen to this.

A sanctified life is a life
that has been set apart by God

through the Holy Spirit
to live a godly life.

It doesn’t mean that
we’re sinless, but sanctified

means I’ve been set apart
by Him, you have.

If you’re saved, you’re
set apart by Him

to live a godly life.

And so when that’s true, you
have less and less interest.

Here’s what’ll happen,
you’ll spend less and less time

on foolish things, less and
less money on foolish things,

less and less time
listening to foolish stuff,

less and less time wasting your
time when you could be filling

your mind with godly thoughts
and filling your mind with truth

that builds you
up, strengthens you,

and empowers you to
defend your faith.

And we need that in
this day and time.

Then of course, we’ll be more
and more eager to share what

Christ is doing in our life.

As you grow in your Christian
life, you want to tell it.

You can’t keep it to yourself.

And as I said before, you know,
when I got to a restaurant or

something, first thing I’m doing
is looking for an opportunity to

say something to
whoever’s waiting on me

that’ll open the door for me
to–not tell them who I am.

They may not want
to know who I am.

I just want them to
know who Jesus is.

Then, we, listen, we are
experiencing an ever-increasing

awareness of His presence.

I think, personally for me, that
word “presence” is number one.

Walking in His presence,
you sleep in His presence,

you wrestle with
difficulties in His presence,

and the more godly you become
and the more Christ-like you

become and the more
obedient you become,

listen, there are some
things you absolutely would not

say if Jesus were
sitting here, or would not do.

Well, He is here.

And see, the stronger
you become as a believer,

what happens is the more
aware of His presence you are,

and some things you don’t
tolerate in your life

because you’re a
follower of Jesus Christ.

Then of course, you’ll know
how well you’re growing when you

just love to spend
time alone with God.

You’ll know when you’re growing
when you covet the time

you spend alone with Him.

God, I just want to
be alone with You.

It has nothing to do how long.

It depends on what’s going on.

But when you think of who God is
and that He loves you and He’s

willing to spend as much time
with you as you’re willing

to spend with Him.

He, listen, you’ll be growing in
your Christian life when you’re

saying, “Thank You, Jesus;
thank You, Jesus; thank You.

I’m going to have this
time just alone with You.”

And somebody said
that to me this week.

She said, “You know, I’m so
excited about what’s going on in

my life because now I’m going to
be able to spend more time alone

with the Lord

and less time I have to work.”

You have to make time.

I guarantee you, the devil’s
got a list this long

for every one of us.

You need to do
this, this, this, this,

this, this, this, this, this.

And when you
finish doing all that,

you don’t have
anything to show for it.

It’s a choice we make,
and I don’t know how to

tell you any clearer.

It’s a choice we make, how
much time we spend with Him.

Then of course, one of the
things that’s so important in

your growing, the more
you grow in the Lord,

the more you’re
going to want to give.

And it’s just–that’s
just what happens, why?

Because you’re
becoming more like Him.

He says He’s conformed us
to the likeness of His Son.

And so God’s
always giving to us,

we’re going to want to give
more to others and to the Lord’s

work, whatever it might be.

And then, there’s going to be
a continuous growing hunger in

your heart for God,
can’t get enough.

Now, watch this.

If you’re really hungry and
you go to a restaurant and

you’ve got plenty of money,
you can buy anything

you want, what do you do?

You look on there
and think, “Ohh,

this is what I think I want.”

You spend your money on it.

It may satisfy
you or it may not.

I can tell you this.

You’re always satisfied
when you spend time with Him.

He’ll see to that,
because you’re growing into

Christlikeness, you’re honoring
Him and He’s going to honor you.

And one last thing I’d say.

If you’re growing, you’re
going to feel God’s love.

If you’re really growing, you’re
going to feel He loves you.

Listen, I can give
you a testimony,

and i’ll make it short.

There was a time in my life,
and I’d been a pastor

for a number of years,
if you asked me if God

loved me, I’d tell you yes.

If you asked me,
“Do you feel it?”

I didn’t feel it.

I didn’t feel like
I was worthy of it.

And I was preaching to other
people about the love of God.

But when I went back
to look at my sermons,

I only had one, and it
was not worth listening to.

You can’t preach
something you don’t practice.

And so, when I think about
growing in the Christian life,

when you are able to experience
and sense and feel the love of

God in your
life–now watch this.

Satan’ll say, “What about
this, what about this,

what about this,
what about this?”

You just ignore that.

We’re talking about God’s–God’s
love for you doesn’t change

whether you sin or not.

His love doesn’t change.

You suffer the
consequences of disobedience,

but He loves you just the same.

Now, you probably had thought
about all those things already.

Imagine being on your deathbed,
and for the last thirty years of

your life, you’ve
just had it your way.

If you’ve never trusted
Jesus as your Savior,

number one, you ask Him to
forgive you of your sins based

on what He did at the cross.

Surrender your life to Him and
ask Him to help you grow as a

believer, as a follower of
Jesus, and be true to Him.

And watch what an awesome
thing He does in your life.

So I would simply ask you
the question this morning,

nobody’s business but yours.

Would you say on the basis of
what you’ve heard that you are

growing in your Christian life
and you’re excited about Jesus?

Or would you have to say, “Whew!

I thought I was.”

Then if you just
thought you were,

what are you
willing to do about it?

Are you willing to
ask God to forgive you,

that you’re not growing
like you ought to be growing?

Do you want to repent of your
sin and you want to ask Him,

“God, what am I holding on to
in my life that I should not be

holding on to, that’s keeping
me from growing the

way You want me to grow?

God, I let it go.”


And Father, we thank You
for Your forgiveness

and Your cleansing.

Thank You that You’re right
here twenty-four hours a day,

sixty minutes in every hour, and
sixty seconds in every minute

in Your presence,
willing to aid us,

help us to grow
into Christlikeness.

We pray this morning that
You’ll speak to somebody,

Father, who’s unsaved,
and to realize

what a tragic life
they’re living.

They may have all the
money, all the popularity,

all the prestige, all the
glory, all the position,

all of that;
without You is zero.

Open their eyes, dear
God, to help them see.

They need to be
forgiven of their sins.

They need to
repent of their sins.

They need to surrender
themselves to You and really

begin living for the
first time in their life.

In Jesus’s name, amen.