Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living | Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved… who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 OK, you have decided to take five minutes a day and focus on God. You’ve made the decision to try it. What can …
Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living | Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3 Some called it “the Protestant work ethic!” But it isn’t, really. It is simply the application of several phrases found in Scripture which can be paraphrased, “If it’s worth doing, …
Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 1 John 2:1-2
It’s amazing what parents will do to see growth in their children. When a parent suddenly realizes that his or her child is significantly shorter than all the others in a given group, most parents start booking appointments with doctors and embark on a regimen of nutrition or medication. They don’t want their youngster to be a “small fry!”
Usually, nature corrects the situation and physical growth in children doesn’t take place at a uniform rate. When God says, “Grow!” the beanpole shoots up, and the whiskers begin to grow. But there are situations when growth is stunted which require serious probing.
I’ve also been thinking about how we grow spiritually. Likewise, growth in this part of our lives is often sporadic. With some, it never happens. A growing multitude of men and women–all of whom would acknowledge that they are believers in Jesus Christ–are in about the same spiritual condition they were in years ago. They may be intellectual giants, but they are spiritual pygmies. For many people, spiritual growth is something which just doesn’t concern them greatly.
There is a principle of nature which applies to our spiritual lives just as it does to the roses in our garden. Pruning the dead or diseased branches produces new growth. In simple terms, situations which we don’t really like–stress and trouble in life–can either produce spiritual growth or else bring a bitterness which stunts our growth spiritually.
I can’t help thinking of a man whose marriage of 20 years has just collapsed. He’s hurt, deeply hurt, yet in looking back he said, “Through this I have found God in a way that I have never known before.”
The sad thing to me is that many–perhaps you included–have never gone on spiritually beyond the point of their initial commitment of faith. “Therefore,” wrote the author of the book of Hebrews in the New Testament, “let us leave the elementary teaching about Christ and go on to maturity….” (Hebrews 6:1).
Normal physical growth is the result of three factors: (1) Nature, (2) Nutrition, and (3) Nurture. The right kind of food, exercise, and enough sleep in a good environment will usually insure that our children grow up healthy. The same factors produce spiritual growth as well. The New Testament says, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him…” (1 John 3:9); and the word John used, translated “seed,” is sperma (sperma) in the Greek. But growth is the result of our response to what God has done in our lives.
Interested in becoming all that you can be spiritually? Then make it a habit to be in God’s Word on a daily basis. Make it a practice to include prayer in your daily routine. Be quick to acknowledge it when you have violated what you know to be right. John says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). When difficulties in life come, instead of thinking of them as God’s rebuke, consider them opportunities to grow and to find out how great are God’s resources for His children.
A closing thought: Your greatest growth spiritually isn’t going to take place in church where you feel warm and cozy, but out on the playing fields of life where your faith is challenged by a hard world and by situations which you wish you didn’t have to face.
It is there that we grow or die. It is there where we find a faith forged by the fire, one which will take us through, perhaps scarred, but intact and better because of it.
Resource reading: 1 John 5:13-21
Bible Text: 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 | Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living | Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, …