Spiritual growth is no accident. Expecting a Christian to experience spiritual growth without studying the Scriptures is like expecting an athlete to become an Olympian without rigorous training.
The fact is spiritual growth requires a Christian to be intentional.
Spiritual growth requires a variety of attributes and disciplines. The Apostle Paul compared the Christian life to the way athletes prepare themselves for athletic competition.
We know Olympic athletes train endless hours to win world-renowned medals.
Everyone who competes in the game trains with strict discipline. They do it for a perishable crown, but we do it for a crown that is imperishable. (I Corinthians 9:25, BSB)
I am not here to minimize our Olympians’ efforts or accomplishments, and we celebrate their hard work and extraordinary feats of athleticism. As we know, high-level athletes are intentional about every aspect of their life. They obsess over their daily schedule, exercise regiment, diet, trainer, and workout partners, and these choices are the metrics of their progress.
Like the Olympians, Christians must make similar choices. Believers should obsess over their daily schedule by spending time with God every day. It is impossible to achieve spiritual growth without studying the scriptures.
- The exercise of believers’ is working toward Godliness
- The diet of believers’ is the Word of God
- The trainer of believers’ is the Holy Spirit
- The workout partners of believers are their church family
Discipline applies to both the trained athlete and the training believer. The disciplines of reading scripture, prayer, serving, and sharing our faith are vital to spiritual growth. Spiritual growth is a choice. We have all seen people who confess to Christ with little or no sign of genuine Christlikeness, and they decided to follow Christ yet did not decide to grow in Christ.
The truth is that spiritual growth is a process of continual development, and there are no shortcuts to maturity.
Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment. (I Peter 2:2, NLT)
Believers are to crave the Word and receive needed nourishment. But that is not enough, and we cannot maximize our spiritual health without feeding on the scriptures. Believers need nourishment to grow. And yes, reading God’s Word is the food for both young and mature Christians. Our spirit cannot grow without food, and God’s Word is the food.
Listening to sermons, attending Bible studies, and reading books are positive but can never replace the need to personally feed on the Word of God.
Many churches evaluate spiritual maturity by quoting Bible verses and knowing the stories. While knowledge of the Bible is essential, it isn’t the full measure of your spiritual maturity. The scriptures are undeniable in the progress of our spiritual growth. But they are not the litmus test of spirituality.
Spiritual maturity is never measured solely by what you know, and genuine maturity is displayed more by behavior than beliefs. We can read the Word or we can allow the Word to read us. When the Word reads our life, we allow the Word to change our lives and form us into the image of Christ.
But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:22, NKJV
So, knowing the scriptures is not enough. The Pharisees of the Bible knew the scriptures without knowing Jesus.
You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life, and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. (John 5:39–40, ESV)
Knowledge of the scriptures alone is not the path to eternal life.
The Word of God is alive to those who are alive in Christ.
“For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 AMP).
The genesis of spiritual growth is for those who know Christ and His Word.
Let’s not just go through life, let’s grow through life.
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