GROWING UP SPIRITUALLY



GROWING UP SPIRITUALLY
By Rev. Cherri Campbell


When a person becomes a Christian his spirit is born again.  In God’s kingdom he is a newborn baby.  He needs to be nurtured and fed the Word of God so that he can grow up and mature spiritually in the ways of God.  He needs to learn to think and act the way God does instead of the way the sinful world does.  Look at Eph. 4:11-16.  “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s 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 men in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.  From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”  In the King James Version, verse 12 says, “For the perfecting of the saints....”  God’s intention was that we would be perfected and attain to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ!  You might say, “I could never do that.”  Yes you can!  With the Word of God!  God doesn’t want us being tossed around and beat up by the storms of life.  He provided us with apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to build us up so we can overcome every trial and get victory in this life.

What does it mean to be a spiritual baby?  Well, think of what a physical baby is like.  He cares only about his own needs and cries until they are met.  He demands attention, and he is selfish, not wanting to share his toys.  He has to have other people nurture him, take care of his booboos, and guide him because he tends to do very foolish things that can be harmful both to him and others.  Likewise, spiritual babies live according to the desires of the flesh instead of walking in the Spirit.  They are the ones who run to the pastor when someone says something ugly about them, and if the pastor doesn’t come visit them they get offended and won’t go back to church for a month.  They only think about themselves and their own feelings.  Galatians 5:19-21 tell what the acts of the sinful nature are:  “sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, and orgies.”  These are some of the signs of spiritual immaturity.  However, we see what characteristics are found in a Spirit-filled life in verses 22 and 23: “love, joy, peace, long-suffering (patience), gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (self-control).”  Spiritual maturity does not always correspond to physical maturity.  A brand new Christian who diligently studies the Word of God day in and day out and who puts aside other activities in order to be able to study the Word of God can be more spiritually mature in one year’s time than a person who has been a Christian for thirty years but has not spent time studying the Word.

You may be asking yourself, “How does the Word of God help me to grow up spiritually?”  I Peter 2:2 says, “Like newborn babies, desire the sincere milk of the Word, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.”  This verse calls the Word of God milk.  We see this same principle also taught in Hebrews 5:13,14, “For everyone that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness:  for he is a babe.  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”  This says that the Word of God is milk to the one who is unskillful in it, but at the same time it is strong meat to the one who has trained himself to diligently study it and discern it.  Jesus said in Matt. 4:4, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  He was comparing the Word of God to bread!  So we see that the Word of God is spirit food.  It provides nourishment for your spirit and it is essential to your spiritual growth.  One needs to be as diligent to feed his spirit as he is to feed his physical body.  Just because you ate steak and potatoes last year doesn’t mean you don’t need to eat again today.  And just because you ate yesterday doesn’t mean you don’t need to eat again today.  Neither will the memory of what potatoes taste like nourish your body.  Likewise, you need your spiritual food from God’s Word every single day.  Don’t starve your spirit by trying to get by on just the little Word of God you get Sundays and Wednesday nights at church.  Don’t wait for your pastor to spoon feed you.  Dig into the Word of God and feed yourself daily.

Man is created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26,27).  God is a triune being, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Therefore, Man is a triune being, spirit, soul and body.  The Apostle Paul referred to this in I Thess. 5:23, “I pray your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Your spirit, the real you, will live eternally either in heaven, if you have made Jesus the Lord of your life, or in hell, if you have not made Jesus the Lord of your life.  Your soul consists of your mind, your will, and your emotions.  Your fleshly body is just the temporary house that your spirit lives in.  When your spirit leaves your body, then your body will return to the dust of the earth where it came from.  Just like physical food provides strength for your physical body the Word of God provides strength for your spirit.  The physical body depends on the spirit man to produce enough strength to live on.  We know that is true because the Bible teaches that the body without the spirit is dead (James 2:26).  Therefore, your spirit is like a generator that produces the electricity for the lights in a room.  The generator has only a certain amount of power it can produce, and when you begin plugging in lights and other electrical equipment you draw from that power.  If you keep plugging in more equipment you will eventually draw the maximum power the generator can produce and it will either short circuit, or a safety feature will cause it to automatically shut off.  In the same way your spirit is also a generator.  It provides the life force for your body.  If you overload it with the cares of this world and all the idle, unbelieving conversation and bad reports in this world, you put more demand on your spirit than there is power in it to handle.  When your Word level gets low then your spiritual strength level gets low.

Consequently, you need to feed your spirit with the Word of God for nourishment and strength.  Not only that, but you need to have a balanced diet, which means developing your faith in all areas of human existence.  The law of Genesis says that everything produces after its own kind (Gen. 1:11,12,24,25).  If you eat the Word of God on salvation it will get you saved.  If you eat the Word of God on healing it will get you healed.  If you eat the Word of God on the Holy Spirit you will get more of the Holy Spirit in your life.  When you eat the Word of God on any given subject that is what you will get.  “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God,” (and hearing and hearing and hearing and hearing continuously). Rom. 10:17.

Studying God’s Word is not a chore!  It is exciting!  It is like digging for treasure.  The Bible contains revelations and promises that are as precious and valuable as gold nuggets, but you have to dig for them.  Most treasures are not laying out in the open for anybody who walks by.  When you look for gold you might find some gold dust by using a pan in a stream, but to find big deposits of gold you have to dig for it.  In the same way, you have to dig for God’s revelations and promises to really be able to grow.  Isaiah 45:3 says God gives us treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places that we may know that the Lord is God.  In Luke 12:2 we read, “For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.”  Jesus said in Luke 10:21, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes:  even so Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.”  And Col. 1:26 declares that the mystery of the Gospel which was hid for ages is revealed to his saints.  So you see, it is exciting to study God’s Word and find his great and precious promises.  Every time you open your Bible it is like another adventure beginning.

I want to show you how to study the Word of God and use it to get your needs met.  I have done this over and over again, myself, when I have faced problems and God has met my need every time.  He is faithful!  He watches over his word to see that it is fulfilled (Jer. 1:12).  In Num. 23:19 we read, “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.  Does he speak and then not act?  Does he promise and not fulfill?”  He cannot lie or change or else he would cease to be God and he would destroy himself.  He is absolutely trustworthy!  There is nothing more sure in the universe than God and his Word.

The first thing to do is get yourself a concordance and find as many verses as you possibly can that relate to the area of your need or to an area of study.  You do that by looking up the key word of what you are studying, such as health, home, children, abundance, guide, etc.  That will give you a list of scriptures that are about that subject.  Then get a notebook and write them down word for word.  When you do this, I guarantee that you will get excited.  This is the digging for treasure that I was talking about.  The verses you will find will absolutely amaze you!  You will get so excited and caught up in digging through the Word of God that hours will go by before you even notice it.

Once you have the verses written down you need to read them over and over and over again every single day; and you speak them out loud and believe you receive them, because Mark 11:24 says, “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”  Isaiah 43:26 says, “Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.”  God doesn’t forget what he has said, but we need to know what he has said and speak it in faith in order to receive the promise.  Also, I John 5:14,15 say that if we ask anything according to his will we know that he hears us, and if he hears us we have whatever we asked of him.  God’s Word is his will (it is his last “will and testament,” i.e. Old Testament and New Testament), so if we pray his Word we know we are praying his will, and therefore we have confidence that we receive what we asked.  That is why you need to quote God’s Word when you pray.  You need to bring his Word back to him and remind him of what he promised because he watches over his Word to see that it is fulfilled.  You don’t approach God on the basis of your need.  You approach God on the basis of the provision he has made for your need.  Furthermore, God’s Word has the power within itself to bring itself to pass.  It has the power to change situations.  So you see that praying the Word of God (quoting God’s Word in prayer) is the strongest kind of prayer there is.

Let me give you some examples.  I don’t have space to quote each scripture, but I will give you the references and you can look them up.  When I am asking God for guidance and direction I use verses like Ps. 25:9 which says, “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.”  Some other verses are Prov. 3:6;  Is. 58:11;  Ps. 23:2,3;  Is. 30:21; Is. 48:17; and Prov. 4:11.  When I need healing I quote I Peter 2:24; Matt. 8:17; Ps. 107:20; Is. 53:4; Deut. 7:15; Ex. 23:25; and Ps. 103:3.  When I have financial needs I read Phil. 4:19; Ps. 34:9,10; Prov. 3:9,10; and II Cor. 9:8.  I have many of the financial verses written in the front of my Bible.  Some verses for protection are Is. 54:17 and all of Psalm 91.  Good verses to pray for your children are Is. 54:13; Is 49:17,18,25; Is. 59:21; and Ps. 112:2.  I know of a man and woman whose son was not living right, so they went to the Bible and found every scripture that promised well-being for one’s children.  They quoted those verses over and over again, and stood on them in faith.  Now their son is working with them in the ministry, serving the Lord with all his heart.  God’s Word works!

I personally have had to believe God for many things throughout my life, and once I learned about the power of praying God’s Word that’s the only way I pray.  For every need that has arisen in my life over the last thirty years I have searched the Word of God for his promise that covers that need.  I then read it over and over again and declared that I believe it is true and will come to pass in my life.  The Lord showed me it was like Peter walking on water, stepping out of his security into something that was impossible in the natural.  It was also like Abraham believing God as seen in Rom. 4:19-21, “Without weakening in his faith, he (Abraham) faced the fact that his body was as good as dead, since he was about a hundred years old, and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.  Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.”  What is impossible with men is possible with God! (Luke 18:27)

Now you also begin studying the Word of God.  Look for his promises and believe him to perform them in your life.  Let God be true and every man a liar (Rom. 3:4) before you would question any of his promises.  You are what God’s Word says you are, you can do what God’s Word says you can do, and you can have what God’s Word says you can have.  Make the Word of God final authority in your life.  That means you have to believe what he says instead of what people and circumstances say.

Grow up spiritually and let your life be changed into the image of God.  Train your body to be like Jesus by studying the Word.  Get spiritual nourishment and strength from the Word of God every day, and get your needs met by the power that is in God’s Word.  Become a spiritual giant!  The Word of God contains all the keys of the principles of God’s kingdom.  Whatever problem you are facing - financial, marital, physical, fear, depression, drug addiction, etc., the Word of God contains the key to solve and overcome it.  But you have got to dig into the Word of God to find it.  Use every available moment to read, study and meditate on the Word of God.  It is not always easy.  You have got to decide what is most important in your life.  People always make time for what is most important to them.  You might have to put some other things aside that are not necessary for survival and don’t help your spiritual growth in order to make time to study God’s Word.

So don’t wait until the disaster hits before you start trying to establish yourself on God’s Word.  Don’t wait until your back is against the wall.  It will be too late.  That is like waiting until a burglar is in your house before you start lifting weights so you can build up enough muscle to throw the burglar out.

If you make a habit of meditating in God’s Word and hiding it in your heart then your heart will be established and firm on solid ground.  You will be able to make it through disastrous situations without being swayed because you already know what God’s Word says about your deliverance and your faith is already standing strong in believing God’s Word.  Your mind will be renewed to the Word of God and you will win the victory before you ever get to the problem.  Glory to God!!  Hallelujah!!
        ______________________

All scripture quotations are taken from the KJV or NIV of the Bible.


© 1995 Victorious Faith International Ministries

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