It seems a pity that folks are so bound to the “drive-through, fast-food” format they can’t tolerate reading more than a page at a sitting. Unfortunately, those of us who are writing articles have to try to keep them short or what we produce is lost to the drive-through mentality. That is why we use the hyperlinks to the scriptures, so that if one of our sisters is truly seeking, she’ll find, through the words of God, when she takes the time to see what he says, the way he says it! Then the author’s words are mere pointers to encourage the reader to see what truth God has hidden.
One sister said she was mulling over being willing to endure hardness, and thinking of that mindset in relation to the soldier who mustn’t entangle himself with the affairs of this life, making a conscious decision to do just that, but also consciously choosing to build up strength and endurance to be able to endure the increasing hardness willingly, without complaining. Singing “Last Mile of the Way” would be about overwhelming in relation to that concept, especially to those on the mission field, and what they are there for, and what houses, lands and families they have given up to please the Lord—all the while wondering, “When or what will be the “last mile,” and “AM I pleasing? Am I abounding more and more? Am I spiritually minded? Am I becoming holy? Am I doing the work he has given me to do?”
Another sister said she found something recently that she was particularly delighted with—the scripture, 1 Tim 4:15, “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.” She found that the definition of profiting is progress (G4297 from G4298; progress). After having recently studied spiritual growth, that was a particularly pleasing find.
We can pray for one another’s strength and even our profiting (progress)! And we can pray that each time we read scripture that our minds will be renewed in knowledge from that study. It seems like the Lord would bless that if we ask, and that would help us become more and more pleasing by being more spiritually minded, learning his judgments, and so on.
So what is the best test of a Christian’s growth? Wouldn’t it be whether or not she reads and how deeply she reads and studies?
We know that everything (whatever we have and whatever we are) has been given to us by God (1 Cor. 4:7; Acts 17:25). Many people in the world today are physically gifted and intelligent, yet only a few of these gifted individuals actually use their talents to serve the Lord. The Lord’s words call on each of us to grow in our inner (spiritual) man, and it stands to reason that we should grow in favor with him and in our knowledge of him. Whether or not we are gifted, we have a responsibility to obey his commands with whatever abilities he has given us. There can be no doubt. If everything we have (and all that we are) has been given to us by God, we owe it to him to use those talents for him.
What does God want from us? He commands us to grow, and in order to do that we MUST desire the Word of God (1 Pet. 2:2 2 Pet. 3:18). Like Jesus, we want to grow in favor (grace) and in the knowledge of him. We are obligated to obey his commands whether or not we feel we have the “talent” (Rom. 12: 1-8; 1 Pet. 2:2). God can make us able to do these things (1 Thess. 5:23-24, Phil. 2:13, Eph. 3:16-21; Phil. 1:5). God can enable us to “grow in the grace (favor) and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18). Anyone who does not grow spiritually refuses to be blessed (2 Pet 1:2-11; Jas 1:22-25). To know him is “life eternal,” and to advance in the knowledge of him is to increase in the joy of serving him. Anyone who does not long to know more of Christ knows nothing of him yet (Deut. 6:4-8; Psa. 119:97-103; Eph. 4:11-15; Phil 1:9-11; Col. 1:9-11; 1 John 2:3-6).
Even the Samaritan woman had some concept of the living water offered by Jesus (John 4:10-11; John 7:38). Whoever hath tasted this living water will thirst for more. Although Christ satisfies, it is such a satisfaction that the appetite will never be filled, but whetted and sharpened. If you come to understand and know the love of God and Jesus, you will be like the hart that “panteth after the water brooks.” Your soul will pant after him (Psa. 42:1). If you do not desire to know him better, then you don’t really know him or love him, for love always seeks to be nearer and nearer (Song 3:1-2; Psa. 119:97-103). To know him is life eternal (John 17:3). How can we know someone without knowing him or her through his or her words? (John 17:6-8; John 8:31-32; John 8:37-38; John 8:43; John 8:47; John 8:51; John 8:55; John 14:6-10).
True growth cannot come without an increasing knowledge of God and his son Jesus. Seek to know more of Jesus in his divine form, in his human form on earth, in his relationships to his brethren, in his finished work, in his death, in his resurrection, in his present glorious position as intercessor, and in his future coming. Continue to bear your own cross (Luke 14:27) so that you will be able to understand true discipleship and search deeper into the sacrifice Christ made for us all. An increased love of Jesus, and a more perfect hope of his eternal love for us is one of the best tests of growth.
- Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled ( 5:6).
- And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst (John 6:35).
- If ye love me, keep my commandments (John 14:15).
- If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full (John 15:10-11).
- They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes ( 7:16-17).
If we desire to know Christ and God, we must learn what they want from us (their commands) and KEEP them (John 14:21-26). We must not only HEAR God’s words by reading and studying, but we must then DO them (Luke 6:46-49). Any man or woman with this mindset will be growing spiritually.