Col.3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Growth comes in four areas:
- By study and research.
- By experience.
- By trials and tribulations.
- By chastisement
Briefly, we will look at all four of these areas. As Christians, we are commanded by God to grow. I believe all four of these areas working together will help us to grow into mature Christians.
(1) By study and research The Bible tell us in 2Tim.2:15 that we are to “study to show thyself approved unto God”. Even as God provide food for our physical well being, even so does He provide food for ours spiritual well being. The question is, do we want to grow or not? 1 Cor.3:2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. Why were these Christians in Corinth not able to bear or handle the meat of the word? Because they were still infants in their Christian walk. Understanding that some have been hurt by the church or by fellow Christians, we still have a command by God to grow in His word which will help us grow in our Christian walk.
There are a good many thing we can learn from studying others. Biographies give us insight into the lives of others that can (if we allow them to) help us as Christians to grow. The more you study about others, the more you’ll realize that you are not the only one who has ever been treated wrongly. 2 In 1 Cor.10:13 the Bible states ” There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” There are several scenario’s that runs through an individual’s mind when another hurts them. They are:
- anger and retaliation. This is the getting even scenario.
- sadness and self-rejection. This is the feeling sorry for one’s self-scenario.
- giving up on God, church, and Christians. This is the quitters’ scenario.
- forgiving and forgetting. This is the right scenario.
Our first instinct as humans is to retaliate. That is a natural feeling for the natural man.(1Cor2:14)
But as Christians, “great peace have they that love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” The only way to love the law (God’s Word) is to spend time in it. That’ why God tells us to grow, because He knows that there will be situation coming in our lives that will try us and if we are not nurtured in His word, we are and will continue to be easy targets for Satan’s devices.
(2) By experience Eph.4:11-14 And he gave some… pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.
The second way that we grow is through the local new testament church. Here in Eph.4 we see three reasons:
- For the perfecting of the saints. One of the definitions of perfect is: Thoroughly skilled or talented in a certain field or area; proficient. I believe that the purpose for church is not just a place where we go to socialize, but to be aware that we are in a spiritual warfare, and as such we need to be trained on how to fight the battles that come our way daily. And as we are taught, there will be lessons that we will not agree with.
- For the work of the ministry. Again, one definition of ministry is: The act of serving. God has called out certain men to whom He gave the ability to minister.(1Pet.4:11) God has put these men in churches to be a help to other Christians. God will teach His man who will in turn teach others. As the Lord Jesus Christ says in Mat 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Even so, a true man of God has the same motives.
- For the edifying of the body of Christ. To edify is to instruct to encourage spiritual improvement. The goal of any teacher or preacher is to strive to help others improve on their Christian walk and they’re going on to perfection. That means that there will be times a sermon is preached, a lesson taught that will go against our reasoning, our “upbringing” our standards, and our “way of doing things.” However, if we have any desires to grow, we have to look at every sermon, every lesson, with the attitude “how can this help me improve my walk with the Lord.” If we go into it with that attitude, than it becomes the responsibility of the pastor to have his heart and motives right with God.
(3) By trials and tribulation. There’s an old saying “experience is the best teacher.” Tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience. When we are in trials and tribulations, we ought not see how fast we can get out of them, but rather see what we learn from them. Every trial, every storm God allows us to go through, if we stop and realize that The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.(Ps.145:17) we would than know that it is meant for our good if we would just look for it. In Matt.14, the Bible gives us the account of the apostles being on the sea being tossed to and fro by the storm. A closer look at this account will reveal a few things:
- Jesus sent them out to sea knowing the storm was coming. (Matt.14:22)
That shows that He’s know what you’re about to face before you do.
- Jesus would have walked by them in the storm had they not called out to Him for help.(Mk.6:48)
That shows that Jesus will help us when we call unto Him for help. In other words, we learn to humble ourselves.
- Peter’s faith was not as strong as he thought it was. (Matt.14:30)
Jesus was walking above the storm, while Peter was sinking into it. The same thing applies to ourselves when we encounter storms. Do we rise above them with the help of Jesus, or do we sink in them with the aid of anger, self-pity, and frustration being used as weights to help draw us down faster! A lesson to be learned from Prov. 24:10 If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.
- They witnessed the power of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Matt.14:33)
That shows that although we have storms is our lives, as long as we have the Lord in the boat with us, we know that experience produces hope, and with that hope we believe that not only will we eventually come out of it sooner or later, but we will come out of it victorious.
(4) By chastisement (Deut.8:5; Heb.12:6-8) There will be situations in which all the reading, studying, church attending, and praying done by an individual will not appease the situation they are in. This usually occurs when Satan has them believing that God is not handling the problem in the fashion that an individual believes He should handle it. The need to jump in and take control overwhelms them and soon the small problem is escalated to a huge problem. At times, God will not allow this to happen and when it is over we’re thankful He didn’t allow it. But there are times that He will allow situations to happen to teach us a lesson. It depends on our motives, our determination to see the matter through, and our willingness to listening to the Holy Spirit when He tries to stop us through His convicting power. When we go on impulse, for the most part God will usually fix it where the damage is not that severe. But when we plot and plan and choose to ignore God’s conviction, that is when He teaches us a lesson we are not likely to forget. And from this chastisement, there are 3 possibilities that can occur.
- We can get mad and quit on God.
- We can get sad and quit on ourselves.
- We can get glad and learn from the chastisement.
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness. Heb.12:11
Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred. Job 6:24
Something to think about when you feel like God is putting you through the ringer and it seems like He doesn’t care when you go through your trials and tribulations.
God Really Only Wants To Help
Psa.119:71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.