Spiritual Growth: What are three of the hardest words to utter?
Salvation is instantaneous! Spiritual growth is a process. If you accept the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ as the basis for eternal life, you are provided with salvation immediately. But spiritual growth after salvation is another matter. As a new believer or one who has not dedicated time to the study of God’s word, you are an infant, a babe, spiritually speaking.
I Corinthians 3:1-2
1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. [Emphasis added]
Becoming a spiritually mature believer takes years of learning. It doesn’t happen quickly. Said another way, no one becomes a spiritually mature believer overnight. In a similar way, for your body to grow there’s a need for food, water, rest, exercise, and more. For spiritual growth to occur, we must have the intake of God’s Word, time for it to process, as well as the application involved in relating it to everyday life. Apart from consistent intake of the Word of God you will not grow spiritually.
It has always amazed me how so many people seem to think they can grow into spiritual maturity on Sunday morning “snacks.” If you’re going to be spiritually healthy and grow, you’re going to have to get regular nourishment from “hearty meals” of God’s Word over an extended period of time. Again, reaching spiritual maturity takes consistentintake of God’s Word. There must come a time when you decide to get serious about it. And just as we “make time” to eat, we need to “make time” for the intake of God’s Word. We must come to see that we have a serious need for the consistent nourishment from God’s Word. Like eating, it must become a priority.
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. [Emphasis added]
The Word of God becomes the most powerful living force in your life when you let it determine your thinking.
12 For the word of God is quick [alive], and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. [Emphasis added]
The Greek word for sword here is MACHAIRA. That’s not just any sword. The Apostle Paul is speaking of the sword then used by the Roman army that defeated nearly the whole known world of that time. It is used here as a reference to the Word of God that you can use to defeat all the obstacles in this world that will work to oppose your spiritual growth and development.
The whole Bible has relevance in your life from Genesis to Revelation. It is your textbook that can take you to spiritual maturity.
II Timothy 3:16
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect [mature], thoroughly furnished unto all good works. [Emphasis added]
However, while all the Bible is FOR us, it is not all TO us or ABOUT us. All that must be sorted out for spiritual growth. You’ll find a lot of help for this on our website [4Us2UsMinistries.com].
One of my favorite passages of Scripture that relates to this is Proverbs 8. The subject there is wisdom. It is the wisdom you can come to have through regular intake and application of God’s Word that can make such a huge difference in your life, even for eternity. Though this is a rather long passage, it will be well worth your time to read it and get familiar with it.
1 Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?
In other words, isn’t wisdom readily available? Yes! And it is easily found by those who will take the time to search for a right understanding of it as it is presented in this marvelous book called the Bible.
2 She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.
3 She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.
The Word of God is taught in all kinds of places. In that day, it was often taught at village or city entrances. But it has always been taught in nearly every kind of place you can imagine.
4 Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man.
Everyone, without exception, needs wisdom from God’s Word. God’s wisdom wants to make its way into every heart.
5 O ye simple [ignorant], understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding [eager to learn and having a discerning] heart.
6 Hear; for I will speak of excellent [foremost, leading] things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.
7 For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness [wrong] is an abomination [something disgusting or distasteful] to my lips.
8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward [difficult] or perverse [unreasonable] in them.
9 They are all plain to him that understandeth [has an open mind], and right to them that find knowledge.
10 Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.
11 For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.
Of what value do you place on your acquisition and knowledge of God’s Word? No matter how you answer that, the truth is disclosed to all by your diligence to seek it.
12 I wisdom dwell with prudence [judiciousness], and find out knowledge of witty [clever] inventions.
13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward [argumentative, difficult to deal with] mouth, do I hate.
14 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.
15 By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.
16 By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.
17 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.
18 Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable [long-lasting] riches and righteousness.
19 My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine [pure] gold; and my revenue than choice [without blemish] silver.
20 I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment [justice]:
21 That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.
22 The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old [meaning wisdom antedates all creation].
23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:
26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass [inscribed a circle] upon the face of the depth:
28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:
29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment [His set boundaries]: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:
30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;
31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.
32 Now therefore hearken [listen up] unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways.
33 Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.
34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates [daily intake of God’s Word], waiting at the posts of my doors.
35 For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour [pleasure, good will] of the Lord.
36 But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul [a reference to self-induced misery]: all they that hate me love death. [Emphasis added]
Are there people who actually hate God’s Word? Yes, there are those who despise His authority in their lives. That’s probably not the case for you if you’re reading this, but for many that’s an accurate description of their thinking. They have a rebellious spirit against God. We must avoid such thinking in ourselves at all cost.
It is through one’s eagerness to study the Bible that we stand to gain the blessing of God. But we’re not talking about merely an academic exercise. We’re talking about the acquisition of information that transforms our thinking and our lives. Application of God’s Word involves action, but it first involves simply understanding it and believing it. It is in the believing of God’s Word that something very interesting happens. We either find ourselves learning of things we never knew before, or we end up replacing our former beliefs with new ones. And this leads us to our title for this article. What are those three words that we tend to find so hard to utter? Here they are—I was wrong! Yes, we never like to be wrong about anything. But admitting we’ve been wrong is what it’s going to take to grow up spiritually. We must replace false information with true information. And that can be quite humbling, especially when we’re having to abandon long–held views about things. That’s especially true for beliefs we’ve made public.
As I look back on my life, I realize that I’ve been wrong about so many things. Some of those things were well seated in my thinking. But I came to the point where I realized that I needed to “repent,” meaning to change my mind. If I ever get to the point where I’m not willing to do that, spiritual growth will end. Even retrogression can then take place.
If you’re like most people, you’ve come across things in my articles or on my videos that you never knew or didn’t believe before. In every case, I highly advise you to think it all through. If you’ve spent much time on our website, you know that I try very hard to document with Scripture everything I teach. If you believe I’m wrong about something, I hope you’ll feel free to bring it up to me. I’ve been wrong many times before and I can be wrong again. But for both of us, the truth is found in the Scriptures. The Bible is a book of answers and a book of solutions. However, we must also realize that only through the right division of the Scriptures can we find what God is telling us today in this period of history called the Dispensation of The Grace of God.
If you’ve followed my teaching for very long at all, you’ve seen that there are many places in the Bible where it appears there are contradictions. The reality of it all is that there are no contradictions in Scripture. It’s just that although all Scripture is FOR us, all Scripture is not TO us or ABOUT us. It is only when that distinction is understood and accepted that there can be right understanding and spiritual growth.
The Apostle James puts it well.
22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass [a mirror]:
24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty [speaking of the Word of God], and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.[Emphasis added]
That being a “doer of the word” often involves our willingness to accept the fact that we’ve been wrong about certain things. It is my hope that you’ll never come to that place in your life where you’re not willing to admit you are wrong and make the appropriate corrections. If you do, it may mark the end of your spiritual growth and development. Let us all make a habit of heeding the Apostle Peter’s exhortation.
II Peter 3:18
18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. [Emphasis added]
The Apostle Paul speaks to us right along these same lines.
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. [Emphasis added]