By Johnny O. Trail — Spiritual growth has always been a problem in the Lord’s church. The New Testament has several passages where the inspired writer addresses that very issue. Sadly, immaturity still plagues the church today. Immaturity can rear its head in varied ways but generally stems from ignorance of God’s word. Continue reading
“Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to arouse its desires.”
Paul speaks “of the taking on of characteristics, virtues, intentions, etc.,” of the Lord (BDAG). It begins at baptism, Gal 3.27, and continues as the saint grows in his status as a follower of Christ.
Conduct and habits change at conversion. What changes did you make from your old life? What habits are you still working to form?
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
The strength that we have each day is connected by how deep our body, soul, and spirit are firmly entrenched in the Word of God.
Strong roots, or foundation allow each one to add faith, temperance, and love to keep us from falling (2 Peter 1:5-10)
Today decide to grow your physical and spiritual roots deeper as taught by command and example in the Bible. Choose to encourage someone to have deeper roots in the word to show how we are thankful for the gift of salvation through The Son of God.
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.
“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith excellence, to excellence, knowledge;”
2 Peter 1.5
Peter suggests that the best way to counter false teaching is by growing and adding essential virtues to one’s faith.
There is no ignorant Christian. What type of knowledge does Peter have in mind here? How can it be added?
Our sister in Christ, Karen D., has been a frequent reader and commenter here on TFR for many months. She mentioned to me that she wanted to make a comment asking for prayer, and I offered to post her request as a separate post. It is below. Let’s keep her in prayer as she works ever toward the truth.
I have started to think of TFR as part of my spiritual family, and I want to be honest with you. Don’t know if that’s right or not, but that’s where I am.
TFR has been a vital part of my Christian growth this past year. I have read almost every article, and applied many things to my spiritual life that you have written. But the truth is I really need your prayers right now. I need your wisdom, fellowship, and guidance to help me. I’m feeling insecure and not very spiritually strong. Continue reading
With the arrival of a new year, new resolutions and plans appear in the mind. It’s good to reevaluate one’s goals and objectives, analyze past performance, and plan for better results.
Usually, plans made at the new year tend to be ambitious. The exercise gyms, for example, have their best attendance in January. That’s understandable. But neither should the small, incremental changes be despised. To borrow the language of Zechariah, let us not despise the day of small things, or as NET puts it, “small beginnings” Zech 4.10.
Sometimes it’s easier for us to nudge up our efforts in small ways than by big changes. Tweaks can often accomplish more than drastic measures. Continue reading
Or something similar?
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Just that, no more, unless you want to elaborate.
Love fills every lack, because it is the generator of all the Christian virtues. In this way, love is able to make us co-participants of the divine holiness. Spiritual and personal growth of each one of us is not related to our gifts, knowledge, or talents, but with our learning to love as God loves.
In the opening “chapter” of his letter to the church at Rome, Paul tells his brothers and sisters in Christ, “So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.” (Romans 1:15)
A question that comes to mind after reading that would be, “Why would Paul “preach the gospel” to a church whose faith was already being talked about throughout the world?” (Romans 1:8) Perhaps Paul’s desire was to help the church continue in their numerical growth, and such a desire would entail preaching the gospel to the unbelievers in Rome; while that may be true, we know for sure that he desired to help the church grow spiritually (Romans 1:11), and this seems to be more in line with the context. But nonetheless the question remains, “Why would such a spiritually strong church need to “hear the gospel” again?” I think the answer is so they would remain spiritually strong!
When the fundamentals go missing from our faith, the foundation that supports true spiritual growth gets removed (for an analogy, think about professional athletes who quit playing according to the fundamentals of his or her sport and how their “game” suffers because of it). This is why spiritual growth is about staying focused on Jesus, his death and resurrection, what he means to us, what he means to the world and what kind of effect the gospel is continually having on our life. Just look at the entirety of Romans 1 and you’ll see how Paul draws this out.
Now, a failure to add to the fundamentals of our faith can be as bad as not having any fundamentals of the faith in our life (2 Peter 1:5-11, 1 Corinthians 3:2, Hebrews 5:12), but, that fact withstanding, for a strong faith to become a stronger faith, we must from time-to-time be reminded what our faith is all about in order to remain firm in what matters the most…never forget that there is a simplicity found in the gospel that is meant to remain simplistic (2 Corinthians 11:3).
To be fundamentally sound in relation to the gospel story is a wonderful blessing, but such a blessing will only remain as long as the fundamentals are a part of our heart, soul and mind.
“For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth.” (2 Peter 1:12)
I know, I know – everybody isn’t a fan of resolutions. But try to make at least one this year, and really work at it. If nothing else, your resolution can be spiritual in nature.
Don’t believe in making spiritual resolutions? Guess you don’t like singing, “I Am Resolved”, huh?
So think hard about what you want God to accomplish in you and what you want to accomplish in God and make a resolution to be more resolved when it comes to improving the part of us that God seeks to reward eternally.
Betcha’ you can make at least one…if you want to.
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21
There are consequences, negative and positive, to the things we think, do, and say in our life. All behavior has built-in consequences. When you choose the behavior you choose the consequence.
Our daily goal should be spiritual growth.
“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18)
Here are some things that will bring about those positive, spiritual changes. Continue reading
by Luke Bower — I can still remember when our daughter first started to crawl. She still lacked the strength and coordination to stay up on all fours, but that did not stop her from getting where she wanted to go. She would scoot and roll around until she reached her destination. It was not very efficient and sometimes took her a long time to figure it out. She would even get frustrated from time to time, but she kept wiggling around until she got there.
It was because of all that scooting around that she eventually developed the strength and coordination to begin crawling. If she were to get too frustrated and just give up, she may have never learned the skills she needed to get around. Continue reading
Patience is a part of the fruit of the Spirit. Patience is also a two-edged sword…or at least a two-way street. There’s patience that we need to show to others, but then there’s the patience we need to have with our self.
There’s nothing wrong with having expectations. In a roundabout way there’s almost everything right with having them. The danger comes from having expectations that go above and beyond what’s reasonable.
I don’t expect my daughter to know how to do math right now – she still has to get a grasp on saying her numbers. For me to expect anything else would be ridiculous. She needs time. She needs to be taught. She needs patience and so do I! Is it a contradiction to put a “!” next to the word patience?
Along those same lines we need to be patient with those whose knowledge about Jesus isn’t as great as our own. We should encourage others to study, we should encourage others to look to Jesus for their example and we should be ready to help if needed, but we must remember that at the beginning people need to learn to take “baby steps” as they learn about the gospel.
At the same time we need to remember to have patience with our self. I know we’re not promised tomorrow, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. It’s true that there is huge peril in not progressing, but there can also be huge peril in being too hard on one’s self. Patience is not an excuse for sin, but there is no sin in having or showing patience. In many ways patience shows maturity for maturity owns up but does not quit.
The Bible is too clear to miss the importance of spiritual expectations, but the Bible is also just as clear when it comes to the importance of spiritual patience. Patience is a virtue that carries a lot of “wait” but patience is what God shows us so we can show it towards others.
“Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14)
PS: In a ironic turn of events, for some reason the title of “Patience” won’t post at the top of this article – even after I tried five times.
Whether it was God’s command to John the Baptist, Jesus’ command during his earthly ministry or his command in the great commission – there is no salvation, relationship with God or spiritual growth without repentance. Matthew 3:2, Matthew 4:17, Luke 24:46-47, Acts 2:37-38 all agree with this principle.
You’ll never find God’s people being promised a new anything worth having unless their willing to get rid of an old something that’s not worth keeping.
The reason so many Christians never grow up/mature/learn how feed from meat of God’s word or teach others is because their minds aren’t made up. It’s because they may be converted to the seat on Sunday morning, but they’re not converted in their heart throughout the rest of the week (Acts 3:19).
Repentance is essential because it begins in the heart, stays in the heart, changes the heart and keeps the heart yearning to please God.
Being “strong” is a trait that is desired by most people. It is really important in the Christian realm. We must, as Paul writes in Ephesians 6:10, “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”
The emphasis in the preceding verse centers not on man, but on Christ. Biblical strength is rooted in Christ. We can attain it only through “growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus.” (2 Peter 3:18) God wants His children to be equipped for service. Jesus said the He came that we might have an abundant and rich life.
The Christian life is a life of action. In Ephesians 6:11, Paul tells us to “put on the whole armor of God.” He says that Christians should be as prepared as the Roman soldier. In Ephesians 6:10-17, he takes the different items of a Roman soldier and made some spiritual application.
Christian, do you want to grow in Christ? It will require you to make a commitment to avail yourselves of all the resources the Lord has for us. Are you ready?