Summary: Continuation of the expository study of the Book of Romans
Book of Romans
By Rev. James May
As we have said many times, we may all attend the same services, hear the same messages, read the same Bible and do our best to listen to the voice of the Lord and follow the leading of the Holy Ghost. But even though we all do these things, there is no such thing as all of us being exactly the same in spiritual maturity and in the understanding of the ways and nature of God.
Everyone here is at a different level in our spiritual growth.
There are many factors that may inhibit spiritual growth. All of us have some things that tend to get in the way of spiritual growth. Some have more than others, but not one of us can say that we are free of any obstacles in our life that tend to keep us back until we can overcome them.
One of the major obstacles that must be overcome if we are to grow spiritually is the limiting power of the desires of the flesh. Even the most mature Christian on earth still has to deal with these issues and attempt to maintain control over them.
Nothing destroys the effectiveness of the Holy Spirit in us like pride. There is no one on the planet who doesn’t like to have their ego stroked once in a while. And if we aren’t very careful, we might get the idea that what we are able to do in the kingdom of God stems from our own ability. When we begin to think that we have somehow caused the hand of God to move through our own spirituality, that’s when the Holy Ghost backs off. God is not going to share the glory with any man.
How many hindrances there are depends upon who you are how many you want to admit are there, but let me just give you a few more things that can limit your spiritual growth.
1) Complacency – this means that we have found a comfort zone; a place where we feel content and satisfied with who we are and where we are in Christ. We know that we are saved and we’ve just settled back in our spiritual easy chair and we are waiting on the Rapture.
2) No vision for the lost – there is no concern for those who aren’t ready for the Rapture. All that matters is that we are ready. When we lose that zeal to win souls and witness for Jesus, not only is the Holy Spirit grieved, but we are getting dangerously close to losing our own souls. If we aren’t fired up to do the work of the ministry that is the very heart of our purpose in Christ then how can we grow in him?
3) We lost our ability to die to self – this is clearly visible in the church today. Christians everywhere are self-centered, self-absorbed and self-satisfying. They only desire to know and serve the Lord to the point that it makes them happy, but never to the point that it makes them stretch and grow or change what they already like doing.
4) Not enough spiritual food to grow on – this is speaking of prayer, study in the Word and hearing from God. If we never consume the Word; never commune with God; and don’t even know the voice of the Lord, then we are headed in the wrong direction. Without food; we die whether it is natural food or spiritual food.
There are many more things that can limit spiritual growth; things like the level of education that you may have to help you understand things better; the experiences in your life that often interfere with accepting the truth because it doesn’t match what you’ve been taught in the past; and even how you see yourself because a lot of people just can’t see themselves as being any better that they are right now.
There are two great truths about spiritual growth that we must all recognize.
1) It is not automatic, it is intentional. We have to be willing to commit ourselves to the process of learning and growing in the Lord.
2) Spiritual growth comes from God, but is gained only when we actively seek after it while allowing the Holy Ghost to lead us and teach us.
And so, with this in mind, let us continue by saying that there will always be those who are weaker in the faith than you are, and there will always be those who are stronger in the faith than you are! But whether we are weaker, or stronger, doesn’t mean that God loves us any differently than anyone else, and it doesn’t mean that any of us can’t grow in the Lord and become as strong in the faith as we want to.