You Find Yourself Wanting To Obey God
In John 14:15, Jesus says, If you love me, you will keep my commandments. One of the natural expectations of a growing Christian is faithfulness and obedience to the commands of God. Not out of duty, but out of love for Him. Our obedience results from what Jesus has done for us and of our love for Him.
Believe That The Hard Times Will Bring Greater Good
Though this can be one of the most difficult truths of deep spiritual growth, those of us who have experienced difficult trials know the power that can come from these times. God will often use, not the easiest times of life, but the hardest seasons to bring the greatest depths of growth in our lives. Its in those times that we learn perseverance, deeper faith, and the awareness that God is with us no matter what we face. We come to understand, through humility and pain, that its in our weakest moments that God becomes strong. We may not ever wish for struggles and storms in this life, but we can trust God to use them all for good, somehow, in us and through us. He is faithful and we truly can count it all joy when we experience hard things, because we know Hes at work on our behalf.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
Keys To Spiritual Growth: Abiding In Christ
Jesus reminded His disciples before His crucifixion that if they abide in Him they would bear much fruit . Lets look a little bit at the word translated as abide.
The original Greek word was men which could have been translated as to sojourn, tarry, not to depart, to continue to be present, to be held, kept, continually.
I like the phrase to continue to be present because it reminds me that when I become a believer I am present with Christ. It also reminds me that I have a responsibility to continue to be present.
I will not grow in my faith unless I keep showing up and putting in the effort that is requiredeven when its hard and Im tempted to give up. I have to keep pressing on. Maybe thats why Paul wrote: I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus .
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How The Bible Brings Spiritual Growth
For many, the Bible is a fact book or textbook it’s merely a resource to help people understand the spiritual events of the past and incorporate those facts into their life. The Bible never moves from a source of information to a source of transformation. Because of this reality, many Bibles sit on dusty shelves or in catchall drawersthey’re rarely read or referenced. Seeing the Bible as merely a sourcebook impairs a person from grasping the real value of the Bible: spiritual transformation and growth.
On the other hand, if the Bible is something more than just a fact book, then those who will engage, study, and meditate on the Bible will find themselves growing spiritually. As the research in Transformational Discipleship stated, “When believers are willing to place their lives on a collision course with God’s Word, then transformation can occur.” The Bible is essential to spiritual transformation.
Paul told Timothy, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” . The Scriptures are beneficial or useful to shape a person spiritually and lead them into greater holiness and spiritual vibrancy. Simply put, there is no spiritual growth apart from the Word.
Bible Reading Techniques For Spiritual Growth
Scripture tells us that Gods Word is alive and active . As Christians, we engage with this living Word as we foster a lifelong relationship with God through reading the Bible. But this is not just like any other activity on our to-do list we dont want to approach Bible reading as an obligation that requires us to simply go through the motions.
Its helpful to discover fruitful new ways to approach Scripture so that we can benefit from it. Here are five ways that you can change up your Bible-reading time.
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Is Spiritual Growth For All Believers
Spiritual growthis a normal desire for all believers. God put that desire in our hearts when we receive Jesus Christ into our hearts. Philippians 2:12-13 says, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure .
Do you have the desire for spiritual growth so you can have a fulfilling relationship with God? Thats a position I found myself in years ago. Thankfully, I had the understanding that it was my responsibility to pursue the relationship I desired to have with God. Thats how the quest for spiritual growth started.
Besides attending Sunday services and weekly Bible studies, I got into the habit of having a personal Bible study. I used Bible study workbooks on some books in the Bible. Some subjects I enjoyed studying and still do are Faith, Love, Marriage, Wisdom, and the Fruit of the Spirit.
As I was learning Gods word, I started praying the scriptures over life challenges, and for my children, marriage, family, finances, my church, and others. The quest for spiritual growth revolutionized my life.
Choose To Receive Christ As Savior And Lord Of Our Lives
Without first acknowledging that Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord of our lives and making the choice to follow Him and put Him first, we will never be able to grow spiritually. We must receive His forgiveness and love and recognize the authority that He is in our lives. Learning to abide in Him, and dwell in His Presence every day will lead us towards deeper spiritual growth as we seek to know Him more. Without these first steps in place, the rest would seem impossible.
If you declare with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Romans 10:9-10
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:4-5
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For By Grace Are We Saved Through Faith Not Of Works
So many people believe that if they are a good person its enough to get them into Heaven. But thats not Gods way. Remember what I said earlier about leaving things up to your own interpretation? Look at what Peter tells us.
2 Peter 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
Being a good person is relying on your own abilities. It really doesnt have anything to do with Jesus, does it? And then if being a good person was what you needed for eternal salvation, then you would be working your way into Heaven. That would be all on you, not Jesus. If that were true, why did Jesus have to die on the cross?
Ephesians 2:8-9For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
But Jesus gave His life on the cross at Calvary, so that His shed blood would cover our debt of sin. Without that blood, there would be no remission or forgiveness of sins.
1 Peter 1:18-19Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
Follow The Holy Spirits Lead
Comforter. Helper. Teacher. These words and so much more describe the Holy Spirits role in our lives.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. John 14:26
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lords glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18
The main purpose of the Holy Spirit involves our transformation and growth. He teaches, guides, and comforts us as we grow in Christ. So if you are longing for spiritual growth in your life, relying on the Holy Spirits lead is not only important, but its essential. In fact, apart from Him, its impossible to grow.
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Keys To Spiritual Growth: Bible Study
The first step to spiritual growth is a willingness to study the Bible. But Ami, you may be thinking, its so hard. I know. But never before has it been so easy to study Gods Word. We have a large variety of translations of the Bible in English . If English is not your primary language, the Bible has been translated into more than 670 languages.
We have access to commentaries, sermons, video teachings, and Bible study books at the click of a button. Besides, we have the very best Teacher in the whole world. The Holy Spirit is willing to help us to understand more about God and what He expects of us.
As we settle in to study Scripture, we should remind ourselves of 2 Timothy 3:16-17:
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work .
This will help us to push through even the things that are at first difficult to understandlike Leviticus.
Put On The Armor Of God
We will face battles in this life. Hard, spiritual battles. Enemy attacks. Difficulties and temptations. Without the armor of God protecting us day by day, we cannot stand. God has given us everything we need in this life to stand strong against the devils schemes and the struggles well face. He desires that we live aware and follow the truths in His Word. Put on His armor, every day, be fully prepared to face whatever is up ahead, and know that you are held secure by a Mighty God.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devils schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:10-17
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The Intentionality Of Practices
Pauls admonition in Phillippians 4:8 is good curricular advice: And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Teaching theological reflection includes helping Christians set their minds on these higher enabling things.
The daily mental and spiritual diet of most of our church members tends toward the trivial, prurient, and toxic as they are inundated with popular cultures media and messages.
Those are formative too, in perverted ways.
Again, the formative dynamic is experience: some experiences are ennobling, others diminish the spirit.
How To Do A Personal Bible Study
- Focus on one book of the Bible. There are 66 books in the Bible. The Old Testament has 39 books, and the New Testament has 27 books. I would recommend that you start with a book that has a few chapters such as Colossians, Ephesians, Galatians, Philippians, and James.
- Study a subject of the Bible that you want to learn more about.
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B To Get This Nourishment We Must Study Thebible And Attend Church Meetings
Scriptures show the need for regular nourishment.
Hebrews 5:11-14 – Christians were rebuked for not growing asthey should have, because they had not studied. Time and againmembers fall away or are spiritual midgets because they do noteat properly.
Acts 17:11 – Bereans were able to determine whether truth wastaught because they searched the Scriptures DAILY. We needREGULAR nourishment.
Psalm 1:1,2 – Meditate on God’s word day and night. Childrenand adults need physical food regularly, and get very upsetwithout it. But are we content to go for days at a time withoutfeeding on God’s word?
Do we make use of the opportunities the church provides fornourishment? I never ceased to be amazed when the church providesa spiritual feast, and members choose to do other things. Howoften do we miss the regular meals provided for our bellies?
Take this test to check your spiritual nourishment.
How much time did you spend this week watching TV?
How much time watching sports or entertainment, or reading thepaper, magazines, etc.?
How much time did you spend on some hobby or outside interest,that may not be immoral but is not necessary?
How many hours did you spend studying your Bible?
How many services of the church did you attend? How many didyou miss that you could have attended?
Which do you nourish the best: your spirit or your body? Areyou feeding your mind on God’s word or pleasures?
Christians need regular nourishment from God’s word to grow.
Keys To Spiritual Growth: Testing The Scriptures
Have you ever had someone try to convince you that something was in the Bible but you felt instinctively that it wasnt? We each need to get to a place where we know what the Bible says about everything. Paul said the Bereans were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so .
We ought to be like the Bereansnot only should we be excited to hear the Word of God, we should be willing to do the work and study it for ourselves. Do not take anyone as the final authority on what the Bible says. God gives us access to His Word and will help us to understand it.
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Youre Growing In Grace
Peter tells us that we should be growing in grace. This is to share the heart of God. Not to desire justice or retribution for those who wrong us but for our lives to be characterized by grace. Our default response should not be anger or bitterness but forgiveness and grace. Even when people dont deserve it. Because thats what grace is.
Youre Learning More About God
When you love something, you get to know it. Imagine being married and not knowing basic facts about your spouse. Not only is that ill-advised for household bliss, its an indication of a lack of love. When we dont know Jesus, dont know His gospel, dont grow in it, that is indicative of the fact that our love for Him is either non-existent or at best immature.
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Develop Relationships With Fellow Believers
If were being honest, this step towards spiritual growth is easier for some than others. For those of us who enjoy being social and developing friendships, surrounding ourselves with other Believers is fairly easy. But if youre like me, an introvert at heart, it can be hard to open up enough to grow spiritually in this way. I also personally find that time is often against me. I fill my day with so many activities and tasks that I have very little time left to develop real friendships.
But the truth is that throughout the New Testament, this concept of growing together in Christ is a key factor. Themes such as forgiveness, love, and living in harmony with other Christians are sprinkled throughout all of Pauls letters to the church. Leaning on one another in times of trial and encouraging each other in the faith were always a part of Gods plan for us as the Body of Christ.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:14-16