As we noted in the prior lesson, God wants us to be all that we can be spiritually. Others can encourage you, provide reminders, and even warn you, but ultimately each Christian must be self-motivated and self-disciplined.
I can think of three primary requirements for each Christian to be all that he can be:
(1) Christians must realize the damage that sin does & genuinely desire to overcome it.
What is the number one problem that keeps Christians from becoming all they can be as children of God? Heart problems! Spiritual problems of the heart are what keep Christians from being all they can be (e.g., problems like lust, pride, unbelief, indifference, ignorance, worldliness, and neglect). Recall the parable of the sower from Matthew 13. That parable reveals four basic attitudes toward spiritual matters:
Yes, heart problems--or improper attitudes--are often the cause of a Christian not becoming all they can be spiritually. Christians must commit themselves to walking in the Spirit and in not fulfilling the lust of the flesh (cf. Gal. 5:16,17). We must strongly desire to overcome sin or it will reign in our bodies. This desire must begin in our hearts. What kind of heart do you have? Have you truly given every fiber of your being to the Lord?
(2) Christians must take personal responsibility for their own souls.
It is true that salvation is a gift of God's grace, but it is accessed through man's obedient faith (cf. Rom. 5:1,2). There is effort required--the effort of living by faith--in order to enter the promised rest. The idea that once a person is saved, then he is always saved is clearly not taught in the Bible. Additionally, although teachers, preachers, & elders bear some responsibility spiritually, ultimately, you are accountable for yourself. One who is saved can fall from grace (e.g., Gal. 5:4). It is possible to stumble spiritually and lose your salvation (cf. II Pet. 1:5-11). All of these truths underscore the need for self-motivation and self-discipline. If you don't embrace the fact that you are personally responsible for your soul (its fidelity to God and its growth), then how can you be all that you can be? You'll never be motivated to do your best for the Lord in such a condition; instead you'll just be satisfied with mediocrity.
(3) Christians must see a need for spiritual growth and yearn for it.
It's normal for children to grow, isn't it? We'd be a little concerned if a child wasn't growing bigger and stronger and maturing noticeably over time. Yet, some of us forget that Christians are children, too (spiritual children of God)! We should be getting bigger and stronger spiritually every day! We should be continually maturing in the faith, dead to self & alive to Christ. We should have a strong appetite for the Lord and righteousness (cf. Matt. 6:33). When you get up in the morning, ask yourself: How can I serve God and grow closer to Him today? Furthermore, it should be remembered that we are commanded to grow. II Peter 3:18 establishes that point clearly; growth is expected - "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen."