Spiritual Growth (Part 3)
1 John 2:12-14 (ESV)
12 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, children, because you know the Father. 14 I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men,
because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
Last week we continued looking at spiritual growth and I gave you three areas in which we need to grow in. I would like to finish up with a few more thoughts about growth.
Spiritual growth is an intense battle between our self-life and Satan. I really want you to understand that growth doesn’t come easy and we need to be engaged in the battle especially in the tough, intense times. Look at some of the words John uses above to encourage his readers while they are in the battle. He tells them that they are strong, that they are abiding in the Word, and that they have overcome the evil one. Lets look at these three things.
- Strong – fortified, hold up against trials, and trials are the main tool that God uses to grow us and make us strong. It is like exercising a muscle, it is when we use resistance in our training that causes the muscles to grow. If there is no resistance there is no growth.
- Abide in the Word – to continue to dwell in, stay in the word, the word stays in you. Constant theme with John, this whole idea of abiding.
- Overcome the evil one – once we become children of God there is a target put right on our backs. The evil one continues to bring up our past, the wrongs we have done, but we must remember the truth that we have in Jesus Christ, that our sins (and past) have been forgiven.
Last thing about Spiritual growth that I want to share with you is this. Spiritual growth has an ultimate goal in mind for you and me. Its ultimate goal is that we would have a deeper and more intimate relationship with our Father. John says, “you know Him who is from the beginning. You see we become mature believers through our knowledge of Him. The Apostle Paul said that his greatest aim in life was to “know Christ and the power of his resurrection, the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings” in Phillipians. So, as we mature, as He takes us through these trials and difficult times, his whole goal and purpose is for us to know him more so that we would come to a place of a deep, personal and intimate relationship with him. We learn to trust him through our knowledge of him. I am reminded of a song that I use to listen to early in my walk with the LORD, that said this,
I’ve had many tears and sorrows,
I’ve had questions for tomorrow,
there’s been times I didn’t know right from wrong.
But in every situation,
God gave me blessed consolation,
that my trials come to only make me strong.
Through it all, through it all,
I’ve learned to trust in Jesus,
I’ve learned to trust in God.
Through it all, through it all,
I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.
I’ve been to lots of places,
I’ve seen a lot of faces,
there’s been times I felt so all alone.
But in my lonely hours,
yes, those precious lonely hours,
Jesus lets me know that I was His own
I thank God for the mountains,
and I thank Him for the valleys,
I thank Him for the storms He brought me through.
For if I’d never had a problem,
I wouldn’t know God could solve them,
I’d never know what faith in God could do
Daily Bible Reading: Acts 11-13
Think About This: It is the absence of the knowledge of God and man’s refusal to obey Him that lies at the root of every problem that besets us. Billy Graham
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. Psalm 37:25