Category Archives: Spiritual Growth

Pipeline In Progress

I was driving yesterday and proceed my usually route, and there is a road that has been under construction. The workers on the road have their signs out to direct the flow of traffic and there are construction vehicles and signs in place.

There was a few that catch my eye, such as “Roadwork, expect delays” and “Pipeline in progress.” The roads often get old and the concrete needs replaced. From the last sign I saw, it appeared as if some water pipeline too was being put in and the old worn down things are being remade.

This though is like the Christian life! We encounter delays and God works to tear up our lives a little from time to time. He is remaking us. Like the roads here in the Midwest, often the “Freeze thaw cycle” from cold winter vs warm and hot summers causes the roads to wear out faster over time. When the roads freese over the concrete is suffering wear from natural elements. Life though also has challenges and wear to it, so the Lord works on us!

The Pipeline though stuck out to me. One of God’s goals for us in the Christian life is that we carry His redemptive message to others, that we also are a blessing to those around us! He wants us to bring living water into the lives of thirsty souls we encounter!

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

John 7:37-39 –

This is what the Lord says— he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you: Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.

Isaiah 44:2-3 –

 

Because of Jesus Christ, our lives have purpose, meaning and forgiveness! He though builds in us his character to make us vessels to carry this Great News and hope. So when our lives seem a bit torn up, trust God to be building new things in so that you can be a greater blessing to others through Him!

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Amazing Transformations

Some of the greatest treasures are formed in the seemingly most unthinkable ways. A pearl is formed from a grain of sand being lodged inside the mouth, if you could call it of a oyster, the mollusk secreets a substance to coat the grain and it results in a pearl, and these can be very valueble. Also, carbon, under ordinary circumstances coal is not much but has some limited use- such as producing electricity or fueling certain locamotives like coal trains. However, under enormous preasure, over a prologed period of time it is pressurized so much it becomes a diamond. Diamonds not only are very costly and valueble, but they are nearly in some sense, indestructible—a diamond cannot be scratched it has been said, except by another diamond, and furthermore, diamonds hold a resiliant resistence to even very strong acids that can disolve glass.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 5:3-5 –

To have character, now that requires heat and melting, furnaces, and fires and pressure while practicing patience, integrity and by God’s enabling Spirit he gives us through the adoption of the cross, that Christ paid for our salvation- by persevering in His power we become proven and tested, valueble and even more useful for his service. Coal has use, yet diamond a far exceeding worth over tons of just average coal. There is an adage that says “Worth their weight in gold” yet in the same manner testing brings the value out of us!

Some suffer much in a life and it makes a cynic, others suffer an equal load of grief, woes, burdens and sorrows yet become more compassionate, inspirers, humble, gentle, meek and tenderhearted. Why? What is it that does this? What a person’s heart is made of is going to determine whether we burn like chaff or glow like gold being refined. However, apart from God’s grace we all would be destroyed in the furnaces of affliction and like a piece of metal that will not conform to becoming useful for anything of value or use. Some metal will only warp with heat and become even less useful yet other metals are refined and made more costly and strong in the process.

The bird in the egg and the catipillar in the caccoon- both must fight to break forth and aiding either one can prove to be its own detriment, underdeveloped wings.

Another example of such lessons come from a type of pine cone that is termed a “Serotinous cone”- which implies that there is a residue that basically acts as an epoxy that holds the outer cone tightly together and traps the seeds inside. The only real natural way to have these seeds released after they have reached right development comes through high thermal temperatures. When a forest fire occurs, this sticky substance is melted away and the cones release their seeds.

And we see here that even the created order of our natural world seems to also help us see what spiritual realities can also be like.

Growing Spiritually.

1 Corinthians 3:1-4 Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?

When we think of babies we think of milk, pacifiers, and dirty diapers. Yet in the spiritual sense in our walk with Christ it is possible to stay a baby if we are not careful and intentional about growing in our faith. God has no desire for us to stay infants in the faith, but “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

2 Peter 3:17-18 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

1 Corinthians 14:20 Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.

Hebrews 5:12-14 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
Hebrews 6 goes on to say: Hebrews 6:1-3 Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.

Ephesians 4:12-15 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness 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.

Although inaccurate understanding of truth is one huge way to hold us back from growing in our faith, I believe sin can also stunt our growth. Paul in Romans 12 tells us to “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so you may be able to test and approve of what God’s will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Young children do not just need to grow in knowledge but also in stature, if a kid does not eat his fruits and veggies or drink milk and eat what mother tells him he won’t grow right. Spiritual children also must eat properly from God’s word (1

Peter 2:1-3 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. )

We are to stop indulging in spiritual junk food and eat spiritually healthy- we are not just called to put off old ways but replace the poor diet with spiritual milk.
Application:

1.) What are some ways I need to grow spiritually?
2.) How will I go about this?