Summary: A lot of people plateau because they think once they become a Christian, that’s it -- they’ve arrived. If you want to make progress, trade in that attitude for one that says, "I’m going to grow!" *HANDOUT INCLUDED*

Trade-offs for a happy 2005.

Everything plateaus when until you’re willing to make the trade-off.

Mt. Climber up Mt. Everest – started out with cameras, tripods, exotic foods, etc. Discarded them one by one. He had to make the trade-off to keep on climbing upward.

Trade in “I’ve Arrived” for “Let’s Grow!”

2 Peter 3:17 “You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;”

2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

Here’s what I’ve got to tell you today in a nutshell.

It’s not about the start – it’s about the journey.

You see, a lot of people think once they’ve become a follower of Jesus – a Christian – that they’ve ARRIVED.

ILLUS> Albert Einstein attended a dinner party. His young, college student neighbor was seated beside him. The neighbor didn’t know who Einstein was. In the course of their conversation Albert Einstein’s young neighbor asked the white-haired scientist, "What are you actually by profession?" "I devote myself to the study of physics," Einstein replied. The girl looked at him in astonishment. "You mean to say you study physics at your age?" she exclaimed. "I finished mine a year ago." (Today in the Word, September 25, 1992.)

How many of you have seen someone who claims to be a Christian, but their lives don’t show it? You know that if you asked them, they’d say, “Oh, yeah, I’m a baptized member of such-and-such a church. . .” But if they didn’t tell you, you’d sure never guess!

You know the difference between that person and a real Christian? That person started, but never grew. They weren’t willing to trade off their “I’ve arrived” attitude for one that was willing to grow.

They may try to hide their lack of growth, but eventually, everyone will be able to see it.

A preacher went to see some people in his congregation. As he came up on the front porch, the door burst open, and swung back against the house with a bang. Out came a red-faced man, and right on his heels was a red-faced woman with a frying pan. . . then they saw the preacher. They quickly straightened up, and the man smiled and said, “Preacher, I tell you – we have more fun than anyone on this block!”

Some people think that spiritual growth is mystical – it’s kind of “out there” somewhere, and if you can find the secret key, you will somehow magically grow. But the truth is that spiritual growth is very practical. There are specific things you can do, specific habits you can develop if you want to grow.

A New York City businessman moved to the country and bought a piece of land. He went to the local feed and livestock store and talked to the proprietor about how he was going to take up chicken farming. He then asked to buy 100 chicks.

"That’s a lot of chicks," commented the proprietor. "I mean business," the man replied.

A week later the new farmer was back again. "I need another 100 chicks," he said. "Boy, you are serious about this chicken farming," the man told him.

"Yeah," the man replied. "If I can iron out a few problems." "Problems?" asked the proprietor. "Yeah," replied the man, "I think I planted that last batch too close together."

There are certain things you must do to grow. . .

1. Make growth a part of your daily life.

“But be continually growing in grace”

This is literally what the phrase means – the Greek verb means “be growing all the time.”

John Maxwell, a well-known business author and lecturer, says this:

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.”

The secret to your growth and success as a Christian is in your daily schedule.

Let me give you three things you can do daily that will cause your spirit to explode with growth this year.

A. Daily quiet time with God.

There are many benefits of quiet time in our fast-paced world. There’s lots of psychiatrists who recognize the value of quiet time. I was just reading the bestselling book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” this week, and Richard Carlson highly recommends a period of quiet time each day for personal peace and relaxation. However, if you want it to be a time of spiritual growth, spend the quiet time “with God.”

I guarantee that this will not be an easy habit to establish. Start small. Go to work 10 minutes early, and sit in the car before going in and just get quiet with God. Talk quietly to him, focus on Him and what He’s done. Be thankful, and ask Him for help today.

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