Archive for February, 2010
Next Saturday, a good chunk of us will be going through a seminar on How to Read and Understand the Bible. As I prepare for it, I’m trying to get a clearer grasp on what challenges we face in reading and understanding Scripture. Can you help by taking the poll below?
Here’s a link to this book, When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor and Yourself.
Today’s Spiritual Growth Principle: Develop spiritual friendships for encouragement and accountability.
Lone-ranger Christians are defeated Christians. You need people in your life. Otherwise, the Bible makes it clear that you will be in danger of falling prey to the deceitfulness of sin:
Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 3:12-13)
How have you seen God work in your life through other people?
Today’s Spiritual Growth Principle: Repent.
One major thing that prevents spiritual growth is sin that we don’t deal with. Wayne Grudem defines repentance as “A heartfelt sorrow for sin, a renouncing of it, and a sincere commitment to forsake it and walk in obedience to Christ.” Are you harboring some kind of sin in your life? Is there an area of disobedience that you are unwilling to deal with? David describes the life-sapping nature of holding onto sin:
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. I acknow¬ledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. (Psalm 32:2-5)
How have you seen repentance be a catalyst to spiritual growth?
Today’s Spiritual Growth Principle: Increase your spiritual risk level.
People who put themselves in more spiritually challenging situations often find that they are more aware of their need for God and his work in their life. Do you need to start serving on a Ministry Team at church where you’ll have to sacrifice and rely on God’s help to use you? Do you need to start serving needy people outside the church? Do you need to share your faith with more non-Christians who will ask you tough questions? Do you need to give more financially in a way that causes you to be increasingly dependent? Do you need to take a role where you are leading or teaching others? People who put themselves in risky, uncomfortable, and sacrificial situations often find that it is a significant catalyst for growth.
How have you seen God work in your life through risk? What risks could you take for the kingdom?
Today’s Spiritual Growth Principle: Spend regular time prayerfully reading Scripture.
A secular research company recently did a survey of thousands of people from dozens of churches and found that the most catalytic activity that drove spiritual growth was personal time reading the Bible. The company came to the churches and said, “People need to be reading their Bibles!” We agree. (Click here for a related post on this research)
As you read, ask the following questions and, if possible, write down the answers: What does this passage teach me about God? What does it teach me about humankind and me? How would my life be different if I applied these truths to my life? (Thanks, Susan!)
Need help deciding what to read? See Justin Taylor’s blog for some helpful Bible reading plans:
Once you’ve read some Bible truths, don’t stop there! Pray to God about the things he has revealed through your reading. Share with him the struggles and triumphs you have. Ask for his help in your life to apply his word. Praying people are growing people.
What else helps you prayerfully study God’s Word?