Dearly beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. – Philippians 2:12-13
The above scripture to the church at Philippi introduces us to the primary purpose of this article. It begins by telling us (human-beings) what we should be doing. What are we to do? Paul begins by saying we who are his beloved, as we have obeyed. In his presences and much more in his absence to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. If you are a leader or a parent, how do you feel when you come home in the evening and find that all the instructions that you gave your kids in the morning have been done? Now imagine that they have gone above and beyond your commands to do something even greater? How would you feel?
That is the feeling Paul has to these people. But he qualifies their obedience and working out of their salvation with what God is doing in their hearts. It is God who works in us so that we are now able to desire to do that which God has instructed us to do. In other words, God works inside of you to motivate you to grow spiritually. God working in us to cause us to grow spiritually is what we talked about in my previous blog on spiritual growth. Now, in this article, we answer the question of how are we involved in Spiritual growth.
When babies are born, they are fed, their muscles are stretched continuously by the mother so that they can grow stronger. And when they are of age, they are left to feed themselves, clean themselves and do stuff without much help. Again the same is with God. He has provided us with means that are to help us grow. These means are termed as the means of grace. They are the reading and memorizing the word of God, prayer, fellowship and evangelism are some of these means of grace. These are the primary disciplines we ought to have for us to grow. Remember the song “read your Bible, pray every day, pray everyday if you want to grow!” It is so true.
Word of God
The word of God is a fascinating subject to any Christian. It is even the most sophisticated document in the universe. Check out the facts about the Bible. It is the most distributed book, the most translated text, the most attacked book, and the most extended surviving historical and scientific facts. These are some of the reasons why you should read the Bible.
However, the more compelling reason for reading the Bible is that it is the word of God and as such, the very food to your spiritual growth. Jesus while he was tempted by the Devil to turn stone to bread, he answered by saying, that a man cannot live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord (Matt 4:4), he was quoting the old testament (Duet. 8:3). No one but Jesus understood that this is the food for spiritual growth when he said that he is the bread of life, whoever comes to me shall not hunger and whoever believes in me shall not thirst ( John 6:35). Why is he saying so? Because he is the word from the beginning, and he became flesh and dwelt among men (John 1:1&14). As the food is for the flesh, so is the word of God to spiritual growth. Are you a skinny Christian? One whose spiritual life is so malnourished and weak because you’ve starved it? Are you having a stunted growth spiritually?
To grow, you need food, a proper diet, and God has given us that. It is in the Word of God that we have faith; it is in it that we are instructed, taught, rebuked and prepared for good works (2 Timothy 16-17). Without the word of God, how can we grow into more Christlikeness? God has given you the ability and opportunities to read and understand his word (1 Cor. 2:16).
Read The Word
Now pick it up and start reading. How do you benefit for the word of God? Remember, faith comes from hearing and hearing the word of God. (Romans 10:17). Start by hearing the word of God. That’s the only way you will believe him.
Secondly, learn to read the word of God if you are reading this article, especially to this point. You can read the entire Bible. You have no excuse, oh you might say what about those who cannot read? What about those who can yet they don’t read? Nehemiah read the word of God to the people of God. Most of whom didn’t know how to read. You do, therefore read. (Nehemiah 8:3) Let the word of God be part of you.
“Once you have read a book you care about, some part of it is always with you.” – Louis L’Amour
Study the Word
Study the Bible. This will involve asking the Bible questions. Ask who wrote this book, chapter or verse of the Bible. Why did he/she write it? What language was used? What are the repeating words or phrases? What was the culture, to whom was he writing to and lastly how does it affect me today? Studying might lead you to look up something on the internet, consult other books and even those who are mature in faith. This is a mark of a growing Christian (2 Timothy 2:15). In your study, have a pen and paper or a book, and write down what you are learning for the study. The Bible is like a field full of minerals; you need to dig to get all the nuggets of gold from it, and the deeper you go, the more pure treasure you get.
Memorize the Word
The third thing you do grow spiritually employing the word of God is to memorize scripture. David says “Thy word oh Lord, I have hidden in my heart so that I may not sin against you (Psalms 119:11).” Jesus himself memorized the scripture. That why he was able to overcome temptation. He responded to Satan by saying first, “it is written…”
He didn’t add or minus any word. He didn’t start negotiating with the Devil. He recited God’s words as it is written. To be more Spiritual is to be more like Christ, being more sinless, and only by the word of God, can we overcome the missiles from the adversary.
Meditating on the Word
In Romans 12:1-3, Paul is asking us to be transformed by the renewal of our minds. The mind is the battlefield you concur you mind you concur the world. It is in the mind that you submit to God so that he would take control and captive of all your thoughts. (Prov. 16:27-28 ; 2 Cor. 10:5) How are we renewed? By meditating on the word of God (Psalms 1:2). The word that we have heard, read study and memorized is the very word that we will think through. Meditating is not blanking your mind and focusing on nothingness- in fact, there is nothing like nothingness. Biblical meditation is reading the bring of every other thought and filling it with the truth you get from the word of God. You cannot meditate without memorizing scripture, you cannot memories what you haven’t studied, you cannot study what you have not read, and you cannot read what you have never heard, and you cannot believe to what you haven’t heard.
Apply the Word
Lastly, when you deeply meditate on the word of God, you need to do what it says. You will do it not only as a duty but a duty that you delight in (Psalms 40:8). It is in applying the word of the Lord in your life that we see and know that you are spiritual, let alone growing (Matt 7:15:20).
Spiritual people eat spiritual food, and that is the word of God. Chew upon it through hearing, reading, studying, memorizing, meditating and finally applying it.