In order for us as believers in Christ to have the increase of Christ, we need to let Christ grow in us and be freed from anything that usurps the place of God; for Christ to increase in us involves the removal of any idols or things that usurp God and the adding of the element of Christ.
In Himself Christ is full, complete, perfect, and full-grown; He doesn’t need to grow in Himself, but He needs to grow in us, His believers as members of His Body. He chose us, redeemed, and regenerated us, and now He wants to grow and spread from our spirit (the beachhead) into all the parts of our heart – our mind, emotion, will, and conscience – and even into our mortal body.
We need to focus on this Christ and let Him grow in us day by day; God’s heart is focused on Christ, and our center should be in Christ alone. Spiritual progress is simply the increase of the element of Christ within us, the believers; as we let Christ increase (and we decrease), we become the increase and continuation of Christ for His multiplication and spread on earth.
The increase of the element of Christ in us will be manifested in our living: we will look like Christ, live like Christ, and speak like Christ, having Christ living in us. For us to have the increase of Christ in us we need to be hungry: we need to be hungry for God, seeking Him, desiring to receive the daily portion of grace from Him, and yearning to grow in Him.
May the Lord keep us seeking after Him, being constantly emptied of ourselves to be filled with Him. May we be those who pay the price to obtain more Christ! Our regeneration and redemption are free: we simply need to believe, but our transformation and growth in life require us to pay the price to gain Christ, buy the oil (the Spirit), and be filled with God.
Christ is our spiritual life, Christ is our spiritual living, and the increase of the element of Christ is our spiritual progress. Real spirituality is Christ Himself, and the progress in our Christian life shouldn’t be measured by how much we changed outwardly but by how much the element of Christ has increased in us.
Being Freed from Everything that Usurps God in us for Christ to Increase in our Being
On the positive side, spiritual progress is the increase of the element of Christ in our being; on the negative side, spiritual progress is the removal of all things that are other than Christ within us (Phil. 3:7-8).
On the negative side, we need to be freed from what takes the place of God in us; anything that replaces God in us is an idol and hinders our spiritual progress.
We may say that we don’t have any idols, but do we spend more time with the Lord in His word and prayer, or are we on our phone or tablet more time – even to the point that we lose track of time? Do we spend more time with the Lord and in the church meetings or do we watch TV, play sports, and do other things that replace Christ in our being?
We need to seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33), and we need to be pure in heart to see God (Matt. 5:8). It is important that our eye would be single and our heart would be pure, seeking nothing else but God and seeing no one else but Him, thereby not allowing any kind of usurpation of His place in our heart.
The Apostle Paul considered the things that were gains to him to be loss and even dung on account of gaining Christ. He counted such good things as the righteousness given by the Mosaic law (which came from God through Moses) and his background as loss on account not of ethics, higher morality, some kind of spirituality, but of Christ!
Our spiritual progress involves an addition and a subtraction: the element of Christ is added to our being, and the old man, the self, the natural man, the world, sin, and all things other than Christ in our being are being removed, subtracted.
Spiritual progress depends on being free from everything that replaces the place of God. In a sense, God is doing only one work in this universe: He is adding more Christ to our being and He is taking away anything that is not Christ in our being.
Why do certain things happen to us? It is so that we may gain more Christ and be stripped from anything that’s not Christ. God is stripping, taking away, and removing things from our being; He uses all things and people in our environment to strip us of what is not God so that we may have an enlarged capacity to receive and be filled with God (Rom. 8:29).
When something that has usurped God’s place is removed from us, there is spiritual progress. God is faithful to take away everything of the self, the natural man, the old creation, the world, the sin, the old man, the I, our good personality, and anything that is not Christ in our being, for the element of Christ to increase in us.
When Christ grows and is formed in us so that there is the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ within us, this is spiritual progress (Eph. 4:13; Gal. 4:19). Our spiritual progress needs to continue in a sustained way in us day by day until Christ is formed in us.
As Christ grows in us, there is an increase of the measure and the stature of Christ until we all arrive at the stature of the fullness of Christ. We all need to arrive – we need to progress on our journey until we are full-grown.
Lord Jesus, grant us to be pure in heart seeking You and Your kingdom first and above all things! May there be more of the element of Christ added to our being today as our old element is being discharged. Lord, may nothing and no one take Your place in our heart! Save us from anything that usurps the place of God in us. Keep us in the process of stripping of the old and adding of Christ so that anything that is not Christ would be removed and the element of Christ to increase in us. May there be spiritual progress as Christ grows in us until we all arrive at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ within us!
The Growth in Life is the Increase of Christ in us: Christ Increases in us and we Grow in Him!
The growth in life is the increase of Christ in us. Christ is already in us, but He needs to grow in us. Christ in Himself does not need to grow, for He is perfect and complete. In Himself Christ is fully mature, but in us Christ may still be very small. We need to gain more of Christ. When Christ increases in us, we grow in Him. According to Ephesians 4:15, we may grow up into Christ in all things. In our thinking, our loving and hating, our likes and dislikes, and all our decisions, we may grow up into Christ. Even when we get a haircut, buy a pair of shoes, study, or work, we may grow up into Christ. Most brothers and sisters are in Christ in some things but not in all things. In everything and at every moment, we need to grow up into Christ by having Christ increase within us. (Witness Lee, Crucial Aspects of the Experience of Christ Revealed in Paul’s Epistles, p. 38)
In Himself Christ doesn’t need to grow, but in us He is still small – He still needs to grow until He fills all our heart and our entire being. The growth in life is the increase of Christ in us, the believers; He must increase, and we must decrease (John 3:30). The real growth in life is the addition of Christ as life into our being (John 14:6).
Christ is not small: He is all-inclusive and all-extensive, filling all things; we are not small either: the whole world cannot fill our small heart! There’s a lot of space, a lot of room, in our heart; our conscience, our mind, our will, and our emotion are all vast places, and Christ intends to fill them all.
Christ wants to fill every inch in our heart by increasing His element in us. We need to open our heart to Him and allow Him to grow in us day by day. We need to daily gain more of Christ (and be dealt with so that our old element would be removed); when Christ increases in us, we grow in Him.
We need to hold to truth in love so that we may grow up into Him in all things (Eph. 4:15); Christ may be in us and be real to us in some things, but He wants to grow in all things in us.
There are so many affairs, things, matters, situations, relationships, feelings, thoughts, opinions, decisions, desires, and inclinations in us in which we need to let Christ grow! There are many aspects of our church life, personal life, family life, work life, etc that we need to let Christ grow in.
We simply need to give Him more room in us to grow until He fills and satisfies our heart. Little by little, day by day, moment by moment we need to open to the Lord, turn our heart to Him, and give Him more ground in our being for Christ to increase His element in us; as Christ increases in us, we grow in Him.
May Christ grow in all things in us. May His life grow in us so that His element would increase in us and we would grow up into Him all things, until we all arrive at the measure of the stature of the fullness of God.
Lord Jesus, we open our heart to You: our heart is here for You to fill it some more today! Give us our daily portion of grace so that we may grow in life with the growth of God for the building up of the church as the Body of Christ. Lord, we open to You to give You more space, more room, and more ground in our being for You to grow and increase in us. Oh, may the element of Christ in us grow and spread in our being more today! May we grow up into You in all things by having You increase in us!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by brother Minoru C. for this week, and portions from Life Messages, vol. 1, ch. 2 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, The Increase of Christ for the Building up of the Church (2016 Memorial day Weekend Conference), week 5 / msg. 5, The Increase of Christ in the Believers Being Their Spiritual Progress and Growth in Life.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Oh Jesus now grow in me; / I want for You to be / Pleased to be in me what You want to be / And when it gets too hard feel free / To grow some more in me. (Song on Christ growing in us)
# Make this poor self grow less and less, / Be Thou my life and aim; / Oh, make me daily through Thy grace / More meet to bear Thy name. (Hymns #395)
# Lord, grant me today’s supply of grace; / May Your divine life grow apace; / Little by little, day by day, to grow / More and more, into You. / Day by day, bit by bit, life will grow as is fit, / Increasing gradually until, / However imperceptibly, / Your life matures within me. (Song on Growing in Life)
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