People understand things differently and I bet the definitions we have for spiritual growth are also different, depending on one’s point of view. But, all in all, spiritual growth is the process of replacing the lies, myths and misconceptions in us with the truth. Jesus in John 17:17 prayed and asked God, “sanctify them with the truth, your word is truth.”
The word of God is the truth. Through it we are put together and shaped for the great tasks God has for us. John 6:63 says it better, ”…the words that I have spoken to you are the spirit and the life.” The Bible is not just a doctrinal guidebook, it is God Himself speaking to us through it, a word that generates life, creates faith, produces change, frightens the devil, causes miracles, heals, builds character, transforms circumstances, imparts joy overcomes adversity, defeats temptations, infuses hope, releases power, cleanses us and guarantees us life eternal. It is just impossible for us to live without the word of God. We have to treasure it even more than our daily bread (Job 23:12)
“…that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
-2 Timothy 3:17
Well, statistics show a significant increase in the number of bibles in print today than ever before, but a Bible in the shelf is as good as nothing- it is worthless. Because of not reading the bible we starve and even die of spiritual malnutrition. To be healthy disciples of Jesus, Consistent Bible Reading (CBR) should be our priority. Jesus said, “if you abide in my word then you are truly my disciples.”
“Of His own will He brought us forth the word of truth that we should be a kind of first fruits of His creatures.”
What then must we do to fully abide in God’s word? We have to observe the 3A’s explained here:
Accept its authority. Human beings have for so long based their choices on unreliable authorities, culture, traditions, reasons or even emotions. These have in several occasions mislead us. However, the Word of God presents us the perfect standard that will never ever lead us astray. Why then can’t it be the authoritative standard for our lives? It is the compass we should rely on for direction, the counsel we should seek in every situation for making wise decisions and our benchmark for doing all our evaluations. It should be the first and the last word in our lives. (Proverbs 30:5, Acts 24:14)
“All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness…”
-2 Timothy 3:16
Assimilate its truth. Just listening to the Word and believing it is not enough. We have to go an extra mile and fill our minds with it so that the Holy Spirit can transform us by it. We therefore are charged with the responsibility of receiving the word, reading it, researching it, and reflecting on it at all times.
We should take care of how we listen. Not once I have heard people complain of how boring the speaker of the day was. I believe what matters most in most cases is how humbled and receptive WE are to God’s word. God can use even the most boring and ineloquent speaker to address us. So, any time that feeling comes, it should not be a time to complain. It instead should be a time for you to check your attitude (James 1:21)
“Take heed then how you hear; for to him who has, will more be given and from him who has not, even what he thinks he has will be taken away.”
Daily reading of the word will keep you in range of Gods voice. (James 1:25)
“…His sheep follow Him because they know His voice. But they will never follow a stranger: in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
Apply its principles. We do listen, we do read the Bible on our own but it is all null and void if we do not put into action what the Word instructs us. We have to cultivate a culture of being doers of the word, and not just readers and listeners.
“…but he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing.”
Attending all Bible study sessions and reading the word daily will never worry the Devil. Only our application of the principles taught therein will worry him, and keep him far from us. Blessings come by obeying the word, not just knowing it.
“…and anyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.”
Jesus said, “now that you know these things you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:17)
Application of the word is not easy- it is actually difficult and even painful. This is why so many people tend to avoid it. We forget that the truth has been given to set us free, but first make us miserable. Resistance is human nature and this is what makes it hard work to do as the word instructs.
Reading the Bible and applying its principles is one thing we MUST develop if we want to get closer to God. How close we get to God is our choice, shown by how much time we give to Him.
“The word of God was not given to increase our knowledge. It was given to change our lives.”