Growing Physically, Mentally and Spiritually in God
We do not grow by knowing all of the answers, but rather by living with the questions. (Max DePree, Leadership Is an Art).
One of the questions we have determined to live with is “what does it mean to live a healthy life?”. We have talked about a healthy life living with grace, today. we are going to talk about spiritual growth.
A healthy life grows spiritually through disciplines of the mind, heart, and spirit.
Today’s teaching helps us to live with the question of health from the standpoint of spiritual growth. Let me introduce our teaching by referring to my personal favorite book in the NT, the book of Ephesians. It is the church where Paul spent the most time (more than three years) and had the most personal investment. He was committed to the leadership and to their impact on their community. In the first chapter of that book, we see the first of several of his passionate prayers for them:
“For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers (Ephesians 1:15-16).
Paul was rejoicing in their faith in Christ and love for one another. These folks have already entered into the playing field of grace. Having received grace, they are sharing it with one another. Now what? Disciplines of the mind, heart and spirit are what this passage touches upon. Let’s unpack the directions of a spiritually growing person:
“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better” (Ephesians 1:17).
The word for “know” here is not the kind of head knowledge that many of us are familiar with. It is not like secular philosophy, which might say, “Know yourself”. It is not like a study of some subject where you might say, “I know that information”. It is the invitation of God that was given through Jesus Christ. “Know Him”. It stands as the first aspect of a spiritually growing person.
God gives wisdom and revelation so that we may know Him better
"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).
Heb. 5:14 “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
A spiritually growing person is growing to know God more intimately and deeply each passing year of their life.
I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength,”(Ephesians 1:18-19).
Paul was deeply concerned that the church would understand that God had given His power and strength to His followers so that they would know His resources and His promise. That power and strength are not known in your mind alone, they are known in your heart. In order for our heart to receive that understanding, it has to be grown.
2) God grows our heart so that we may know His hope, our inheritance, and His power
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you” (I Peter 1:3-4).
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14).
A spiritually growing person has an enlarged heart, an increased capacity to place their faith in the promises, the presence, and the power of God.
So, Spiritual health comes through the surrender of our hearts and minds to the control and direction of God. Tragically, many of us have viewed growth as optional. And while growth might be optional for a seed you plant in the ground (dependent upon sun, water, fertilizer), Growth was never intended to be an optional activity for a disciple of Jesus Christ.
How does one then experience this kind of spiritual growth? Is it a mystery only known to those with memorized incantations or those who have understood a particular pathway? Not at all! Just as grace is made available to “whoever”, so is spiritual growth available to any wanting to pursue it.
Growth-We believe that every Christian should develop spiritual habits that draw them into closer fellowship with Jesus. These habits include Bible Study, Prayer, Fellowship, and Stewardship. We believe “making disciples” is a fundamental reason for our existence as a church.
Do you have a game plan for your spiritual health? If I am willing to commit to my physical health, would you be willing to your spiritual health? For me to be physically healthy, I have to eat right, get plenty of rest and drink lots of water, and exercise regularly. Here are three specific steps you can take for your spiritual health.
Be a student of God’s Word... Eat right!
2 Tim. 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workmen who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
Enroll in the school of Prayer... drink plenty of water and get plenty of rest!
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Walk in obedience to God and watch Him work!... exercise regularly!
“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him” (John 14:21).
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