Spiritual Growth

LIVING IN CHRIST
(by Vicki Lynn Gordy ~ vickigordy.com)

Life’s instructions are simple:  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  And, love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-40)  The following expressions of faith are meant to be means to these ends — not ends in themselves.  When lived out as God intended, these acts of faith will not just be what we do, they will flow from who we are.  They will help us to better love God, ourselves and others.  They will not just be religious activities we include in our schedules, but rather what flows naturally and spontaneously through our life in Christ.

You will want to worship God.  

One definition of the word worship is “adoring reverence or regard” (Dictionary.com).  Worship is first and foremost a belief and attitude.  Worship also includes the act of attending church and participating in outward expressions of what is felt inwardly – such as bowing in prayer, kneeling and singing.

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness. ~ Psalm 29:2

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. ~ Hebrews 12:28

Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. ~ Psalm 43:4a

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.  ~ Psalm 95:6

Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. ~ Psalm 100:2

You will seek to grow in spiritual insight through studying God’s Word, prayer, and in living out your faith. 

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.  ~ Philippians 1:9

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness. ~ 2 Peter 1:5-6

Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living.  Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. ~ I Thessalonians 4:1

Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. ~ 1 Timothy 4:15

The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. ~ Proverbs 4:18  

You will look for opportunities to share with others what God has done in your life.

Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. ~ Matthew 10:32 

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” ~ Mark 16:15

It is written:  “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”  With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak.  ~ 2 Corinthians 4:13

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” ~ Isaiah 52:7 

You will be motivated to serve the Lord through serving others.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving. ~ Colossians 3:23-24 

If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.  Amen. ~ 1 Peter 4:11b

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men. ~ Ephesians 6:7

Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? ~ James 2:15-16

The King will reply, ”I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” ~ Matthew 25:40

You will enjoy fellowship with other believers.

Churches often provide opportunities for meaningful fellowship by offering small group classes and activities in which you can participate – such as Bible study groups, singles groups, mom’s groups, etc.

Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. ~ Romans 12:4-5 

For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them. ~ Matthew 18:20

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. ~ Acts 2:42

 

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. ~ Ephesians 3:17b-19  

Recommended Reading

The Bible
It goes without saying that the Bible stands alone as the most important recommended reading for spiritual growth.  It has been called our “owner’s manual.”  The Bible is a compilation of 66 books written by over 40 authors over a period of approximately 1,600 years.  These authors were from many different walks of life (some of which include a fisherman, physician, tax collector, tent maker, and a king).  It was written in different languages, from three continents and it covered a variety of topics.  Yet, with all of the background variations, the Bible comes together into a consistent story and theme. Not only do the scriptures teach us about God’s nature.  Through the scriptures we come to understand who we are, why we are here and about existence beyond this earthly life.

The Purpose Driven Life (Rick Warren)
“The Purpose Driven Life will help you understand why you are alive and reveal God’s amazing plan for you – both here and now, and for eternity.  Rick Warren will guide you through a personal 40-day spiritual journey that will transform your answer to life’s most important question: What on earth am I here for?”

The Reason for God (Timothy Keller)
“Timothy Keller, the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, addresses the frequent doubts that skeptics and non-believers bring to religion.”

More Than a Carpenter (Josh and Sean McDowell)
Josh McDowell, and his son Sean, examine the evidence about Jesus.  Is he really the Lord he claimed to be?  How can we know for sure?  More than a Carpenter offers arguments for faith from a skeptic turned believer.

I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist (Norman Geisler and Frank Turek)
“Geisler and Turek argue that Christianity requires the least faith of all worldviews because it is the most reasonable. A valuable aid to those interested in examining the reasonableness of the Christian faith.”

Mere Christianity (C. S. Lewis)
A Christian classic, in Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis explains in detail what realizations led him from atheism to a defender of Christianity.