Spiritual Growth

Are We Sure We Don’t Have The Time?

If we have time to fight dandelions, we have time to fight the good fight of faith. If we have time to channel surf, we have time to flip through our Bible. If we have time to go on vacation, we have time to work for the Lord. If we have time to sit in the bleachers, we have time to sit in the pews. If we have time to talk about the weather, we have time to talk about the gospel.

There’s no doubt that our time can be tight, but if our time is too tight to fit in what’s really important then maybe it’s time to start buying it back, for there’s a difference in not having the time and not making it (Ephesians 5:16).

Here’s a thought: If time has no interest in waiting for us, then why do we wait so much for the time to do the things that we know need to be done? EA

Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the well. Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.”  Ecclesiastes 12:6-7

Odds Are…

I’ve been a Christian for about 10 years and I’ve noticed a few things about people and their likelihoods when it comes to spiritual growth.

Odds are your attendance of the worship services is going to look as bad or worse this year as it was last year.

Odds are you’re going to participate in the actual work of the church as much or even less than you did last year.

Odds are your evangelistic zeal will stay the same or decline this year compared to last year.

Odds are you’re going to look for as many excuses this year, if not more than last year, as to why you’re not growing spiritually.

I say defy the odds! Don’t settle for spiritual mediocrity! Start making an effort to walk on the strait and narrow! EA

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

Four Seasons Found in the Bible – Part 3

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:7-10)

As sure as the rains from heaven above and the labors of the farmer who lives below eventually lead to a harvest to be enjoyed, the same can be said spiritually speaking.

It’s important to remember that every spiritual season of sowing isn’t going to lead to a “bumper crop.” Nor will every season bring agreeable weather with it, but the work of sowing the seed must go on (2 Timothy 4:2). But the season is worth it even if the seed only bears fruit in the heart of a single individual (Luke 8:11,15). The goal is about quality as much as it is quantity, because at the end of the day a spiritual harvest will be reaped in its own way – whether here on earth or with God in heaven. Good labor will not be forgotten:

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

When it comes to the biblical seasons of sowing and reaping, eternal life isn’t only meant to be promoted to others through the Gospel; it’s meant to be enjoyed by those who sow to the Spirit. And when this aspect is realized it can lead to a greater bringing in of the sheaves for multiple reasons.

Remember, if we don’t base the reaping of next year’s garden off of the results of this year’s, then why should we lose heart because we have one bad spiritual season, or become prideful because we have one good season?

So the spiritual harvest will eventually come in its own season, but only after the sowing gets going because we can only reap what we sow! EA

Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.” (1 Corinthians 3:5-8)

Good Lessons From The Flower Garden: Growth

When we first started our flower garden we planted three small lilies in one corner. The first year they were so weak that we bought little braces to help hold them up. The stems were only about eight inches tall, extremely fragile and thin and the flowers were tiny with no seeds at all; but it was only their first year after all. What more can you expect in the first year? Could we expect more from the flowers at all???

A brother in Christ who has encouraged me several times over with his preaching at a sister congregation in town once told me to “keep it green.” I thought it was a funny statement at the time but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. He wasn’t making a political statement; in his own way he was telling me to keep growing spiritually. When we stop growing spiritually (i.e. when we stop “keeping it green”) we automatically start dying spiritually.

Okay, back to the garden. The tiny lilies that we planted now grow anywhere from three to four feet tall with stems as thick as your thumb! They’re the “big dogs on the block” now. They have so many flowers that they bloom at different times increasing their lifespan and usefulness to all the insects and hummingbirds around them. Even more impressive is that they produce so many seeds now you can hardly keep up with them…these things multiply! The plants are now mature and are able to support themselves without any bracing whatsoever. They did what they’re supposed to do – they grew and now they cause other lilies to grow with their seeds too.

Christians have a personal responsibility to grow. Some Christians are unfortunately just as immature spiritually as they were the day they obeyed the gospel. There’s no doubt about it, we have a responsibility to support one another spiritually (Galatians 6:10), but some have been on the “milk bottle” for too many years.

To some these words may sound harsh but it is the truth. Paul rebuked some Christians who were members of the Corinth congregation when he said, “I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able;” (1 Corinthians 3:2). Some of the Hebrew Christians came close to danger because of their spiritual immaturity too. They were told, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.” (Hebrews 5:12).

A young Christian is not expected to know everything (as a matter of fact I have yet to meet an older Christian that knows everything) but there is a matter of responsibility when it comes to “growing up” and a responsibility for older Christians to help the younger ones grow. But how can we keep others green and growing if we are neglecting our own growth?

Indicators of our spiritual maturity are everywhere. We must examine and be honest with ourselves. We must keep growing through God’s word.

Are you feeding or being fed? How green are we keeping it? How long has it been since any spiritually growth was seen? Think about it. EA