Spiritual Growth

Spiritual Growth

Growing in the Spirit of Truth

“No man also having drunk old wine
straightway desireth new: for he saith,
The old is better”
Luke 5:39

Spiritual growth is often the result of a series of spiritual crises and the rending of former things in order to embrace deeper and higher things in God. It is an easy thing to read of in the scriptures; the Spirit of God draws men and women from the former things into the new. However, when it is your own faith, your own beliefs and your own forsaking of things, it is a different matter.

 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something like a great sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to me. Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air. And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ But I said, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth. ’But the voice answered a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common”
Acts 11:5-9

The true living faith of Christ within a heart is able to make that transition from one place into another for it is ever drawn by the Author and Perfecter of it. Peter’s ability to step into New Testament Truth was the result of a faith that knew his God. Many of God’s people are stuck in former things simply because it is comfortable and known. There is an inability to go beyond the elemental because of a faith which is rooted in something other than a living relationship with Christ.

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways”
1 Corinthians 13:11

It is an easy thing to recognize and observe the natural growth of a child. Those with children or grandchildren are amazed at the constant changes and development they see in them from week to week and month to month. Spiritual growth however requires faith to move from the things of a child into the truth of the fullness of Christ. There are consequences to those who move on in God; there may be losses of friendship, changes in responsibilities, a battling of new enemies within and without. Yet it is these transformations which bring the adventure of walking with God. The years of holding on to the hands of a teacher (good for a season), must give way to the experiential touching and walking with God for themselves. The teachings and doctrines of others must give way to the ministration of His Life in order that His Name and His Power be made known. Clinging to forms of truth, without walking in them, will leave us stunted and undeveloped in our spiritual growth.

The compulsion to leave the shadows and forms of a thing to walk in the reality is a vital step of faith; the same one multitudes of God’s people have stepped into before us. Paul declares in Romans “from faith unto faith”. Every step taken is one of the joys of the Christian experience; not only for us but even more so for the joy it brings to our heavenly Father. May each of us hear His call to “Come up hither” (Revelation 4:1). To linger in the former things is to deny this call.

The stepping of Peter out of the boat, the young man’s lunch feeding the multitudes, the stretching forth of the withered hand on the Sabbath (in opposition to all in the Synagogue), are all examples of those who obeyed the faith stirring within. As Pilgrims of a living faith may we venture into the world around us with His Light, Love and Life.

⊃⊂

“The greatest spiritual crisis comes when a person has to move a little farther on in his faith than the beliefs he has already accepted”
– Oswald Chambers

See: NOT SO!

BT

The Basis of our Salvation

Nothing but the Blood

“…when I see the blood,
I will pass over you”
Exodus 12:13

A great misconception in much of the Gospel today is that the forgiveness of our sins is based upon compassion rather than the sacrifice of our Savior. His justice demanded that our sins be paid for. God’s love dictated that His Only Begotten Son offer Himself upon the Cross to pay the penalty for our rebellion, sin and shame. If we fail in understanding the nature of our God, we will fail to understand the nature and wonder of our salvation. This failure leads to lukewarm living and carelessness in the hearts of many.

“For God so loved the world
that He gave His Only Begotten Son…”

It was because of Love that God sent His Son to die in our stead. Forgiveness was based on the Blood of Jesus, not on the sentimentality of love. The Love of God never violates His righteousness. His Love is pure and holy and those who dwell in Love, walk in righteousness. It is humanistic reasoning that presents a salvation based upon anything less than the Sacrifice of Christ on our behalf. This infusion of humanism into the mixture of the Truth of God robs us of the conviction of sin; of the horror that it actually is. We get the idea that God simply “winks” at our sin because He is Love. It is because of this deadly supposition that many in Christ live at ease with sin and are robbed of touching the power and glory of God in their lives.

Whenever sin is regarded lightly, the knowledge of God is superficial. God hides Himself from such. It is in His Holy Presence that the true nature of sin becomes known and our repentance is real.

The Holy Love of God
required Sacrifice to procure our Forgiveness.

As we begin to know in truth that our salvation is only because of His Sacrifice we are able to respond to Him sacrificially. Anything less desensitizes us to the incredible cost of our redemption and produces lukewarm hearts, tepid prayers and impotent living.

“But to whom little is forgiven,
the same loves little.”
Luke 7:47

When we estimate our salvation based on a sentiment rather than the sacrifice of God’s Son, the corresponding heart response is artificial, lacking the fire and intensity of all that He is worthy of.

“It is shallow nonsense to say that God forgives us because He is love. Once we have been convicted of sin, we will never say this again. The love of God means Calvary— nothing less! The love of God is spelled out on the Cross and nowhere else. The only basis for which God can forgive me is the Cross of Christ. It is there that His conscience is satisfied”.
Oswald Chambers

Σ

Nothing but the Blood of Jesus

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my pardon, this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
For my cleansing this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Now by this I’ll overcome—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Now by this I’ll reach my home—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Glory! Glory! This I sing—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
All my praise for this I bring—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
By Robert Lowry

Brian Troxel

Teacher, Master and Lord

“To have a master and teacher is not the same thing as being mastered and taught. Having a master and teacher means that there is someone who knows me better than I know myself, who is closer than a friend, and who understands the remotest depths of my heart and is able to satisfy them fully. It means having someone who has made me secure in the knowledge that he has met and solved all the doubts, uncertainties, and problems in my mind. To have a master and teacher is this and nothing less— “…for One is your Teacher, the Christ…” Matthew 23:8

Our Lord never takes measures to make me do what He wants. Sometimes I wish God would master and control me to make me do what He wants, but He will not. And at other times I wish He would leave me alone, and He does not.

“You call Me Teacher and Lord…”— but is He? Teacher, Master, and Lord have little place in our vocabulary. We prefer the words Savior, Sanctifier, and Healer. The only word that truly describes the experience of being mastered is love, and we know little about love as God reveals it in His Word. The way we use the word obey is proof of this. In the Bible, obedience is based on a relationship between equals; for example, that of a son with his father. Our Lord was not simply God’s servant— He was His Son. “…though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience…” (Hebrews 5:8). If we are consciously aware that we are being mastered, that idea itself is proof that we have no master. If that is our attitude toward Jesus, we are far away from having the relationship He wants with us. He wants us in a relationship where He is so easily our Master and Teacher that we have no conscious awareness of it— a relationship where all we know is that we are His to obey.”
Oswald Chambers