Now that a few days have passed since Sunday, I thought it would be a good idea to revisit the message. I really enjoyed what Synthia Cathcart and Todd Hutchison shared in their testimonies. It is so helpful to hear what others are doing to grow and develop their relationship with Christ. If you’re anything like me, I listened to their words and thought, “Oh, that’s good. I need to apply that in my own life.”
When it comes to growth in our spiritual lives, an old saying rings true, if you’re not growing, you’re dying. That is why Grow is a part of our mission at New Hope. #REACHCONNECTGROWGO embodies four words that are essential to who we are as a church. We must do all we can to Reach people, Connect them to the body of Christ, Grow in our knowledge and faith in Christ, and Go into the world to make disciples.
The idea behind the Grow message this past Sunday was that all followers of Christ become new creations at salvation. That means when someone says, “Jesus, I’m yours,” their slate is wiped clean. They have been made new. And in that moment Jesus comes into their lives and the Holy Spirit packs them with all the power, nutrients, and energy they will need to get started in their new spiritual walk. Essentially, the believer becomes a spiritual seed. A seed is capable of becoming like the one it came from. Isn’t that what Jesus would ask of us? To be more and more like Him every day.
Have you ever noticed how new followers of Christ are often on fire in the early days of their faith? They tell everyone about Jesus, they show up to every worship event, and they can’t hold in what’s going on in their hearts. That’s because they have become new seeds packed with all of this power from the Holy Spirit.
Have you ever heard someone say in their testimony, “When I first accepted Christ I was on fire, but over time I kind of fell away.” That happens because the power and nutrients that are implanted in us as seeds will eventually be used up. We can’t live our entire lives on the initial outpouring that the Holy Spirit gives us when we receive Christ. We need spiritual nourishment to continue throughout our lives. That is why Peter closed out his final book with encouraging believers to grow:
2 Peter 3:18
“…Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory now and forever! Amen.”
Just like a seed needs soil, we need God’s Word. Just like a seed needs water, we need a consistent prayer life. Just like a plant needs light, we need to apply the words of Jesus to our lives and live it out!
My wife and I have committed to this in our own spiritual lives. A few months ago I heard a pastor say that he committed to read through the Bible one time for each year. I have read through the Bible one time, but hearing these words challenged me to do it again. Here is the One Year Bible I am using to read through God’s Word in one year.
You can purchase it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, on your Kindle, etc…
This reading Bible will give you a section of the Old Testament, a Psalm, a Proverb, and the New Testament all in one day. At the end of each days reading, Pastor Selwyn Hughes writes a devotion and prayer based on one of the scriptures. There have been many moments when God has spoken directly to my heart in my daily reading. It’s good stuff! I challenge you to join me in this process. (I realize it’s January 23rd, but it’s not too late to join me.)
My wife Sarah is using a different book. This one has devotions from Charles Stanley.
Let me encourage you to begin growing more and more in your reading of God’s Word, your prayer life, and your daily walk in living out what you learn as a follower of Christ. This reading challenge is a great place to start.
To close out, I’ll give you an example of how God spoke to my heart yesterday. After I give a message at the church, I always pray that God would either affirm or correct what I shared. I am not perfect and never will be, but I always want to make sure I am preaching what God wants me to say and not what I want to say.
After delivering the message on Grow, my Monday devotion from Selwyn Hughes was this:
“If you believe that you received all of the Spirit at conversion, then the question I have for you is this: How much is He ruling and reigning in your life at the moment? If you believe that the Holy Spirit is given after conversion, then permit me to ask you this: What steps have you taken to open your entire being to Him in order that you may be filled with all of His fullness? Don’t, I beg you, remain stagnant because of some doctrinal position you might hold. Seek the Holy Spirit afresh every day, that He might flow through your life in the fullness of His power. And don’t just focus on being filled for the blessing you might enjoy. Remember, the Holy Spirit is like electricity – He won’t come in unless He can get out. Tell Him you want to be a channel, not just a consumer, and today will not be an end, but a beginning.”
Growing is a continuous process. And Growing leads to Going. That’s what we’ll be talking about this Sunday!