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Conditions for spiritual growth (5)

by on April 19, 2013

So we have covered 3 broad conditions for growth this week

  • Having not seen Him, you love Him
  • Planted by streams of water, delighting in the Word
  • Getting the right, appropriate, spiritual food for our stage of development, so that growth may continue

Those things, I suggest, set us on the path to growth as disciples – but I want to look very briefly at some other important factors in encouraging growth, and these things go together.

The first is community and place – the context of the all scriptures we have read has been the growth of disciples as they serve together in community, in churches of God. In fact, that is the context of the apostles teaching across the New Testament. And if we are not with others in service, we’ll struggle to do these other things that we’ve thought about this afternoon.

We thought about the fact that Samuel was continually growing. And where was he? He was in the tabernacle at Shiloh, ministering before the LORD. He was in community with God. And even though those with whom he served at that time where not growing, because their personal relationship with God was very far from right, Samuel continued to grow as He served before the LORD in His house. God’s presence was there in a way that He was not elsewhere – the tabernacle was where He had chosen to dwell among men, among His special people, and that is where Hannah knew that Samuel would become mature in service. That is where Hannah knew Samuel should be, even as a little boy, if He was going to impact on the people of God in that day as he eventually did (because it seems that Hannah was a very insightful woman of God in placing Samuel where she did).

So community, and the place in which we serve, is important for encouraging growth. Come to meetings of the church. Come to district events. Engage with those with whom you serve, stir them up, and let yourself be stirred up by them, to doing good in the service of God. That will bring about individual growth.

The last thing that I want to touch on this week is responsibility within community. We’ve been in Paul’s letter to Timothy several times this week. And Timothy was charged by Paul with responsibility – for example, and these are just a few, command and teach, set those with whom you serve an example, devote yourself to the public reading of scripture, to exhortation, to teaching, don’t neglect your gift, keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Paul gave Timothy some serious responsibilities. And Paul expected to see Timothy devoting Himself to those things, practicing them, so that there might be evident growth, evident progress, as a result. So, let us not be scared to give responsibility in encouraging those around us to grow. Let us not be scared to take responsibility if we have that desire to grow ourselves. I’m not just talking about the platform or publicly visible forms of responsibility – but responsibilities in all areas of local church life.

 

We want to be growing, don’t we? If so, let’s be before God about the love that we bear Him. Having not seen Him, you love Him. That’s where the desire to grow comes from. Let’s be before God about being planted beside the stream, and getting our roots in deep to the thing we thrill to and delight in. Let’s seek to progress from milk to solid food as we grow. Let’s be with one another in service and encourage growth in those with whom we serve.

Samuel grew and he grew and he grew. And, by God’s grace, changed the history of the people of God for good. Let’s seek to imitate him.

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One Comment
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