Summary: Food is necessary for physical life. Without food, we become weakened and eventually become ill. Just as this occurs, lack of spiritual food produces the same results in our spiritual lives.
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead” (Philippians 3:12-13).
Introduction: Paul, probably the greatest Christian to ever live, wrote this twenty-five years after his conversion. If after twenty-five years he still needed to grow, we certainly need to grow more, don’t we? We will discover 5 main principles to live by in order to grow spiritually.
Principle 1: We Must Study God’s Word
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are a normal part of the day. We all revolve our days around eating food. You probably wouldn’t think of going without physical food for a week or even a day, would you? Food is necessary for physical life. Without food, we become weakened and eventually become ill. Just as this occurs, lack of spiritual food produces the same results in our spiritual lives. Our culture tends to consider people “spiritual” merely if they have an interest in spiritual things. That is NOT the biblical perspective. Only those who hear God’s voice and obey it are spiritual. Read James 1:18-27.
Lets examine what the Bible tells us is the spiritual food for a Christian. 1 Peter 2:2 tells us, “…as new born babes, desire the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow…” As infants have a taste for their mother’s milk, so we are to develop a taste and a craving for the life-giving Word of God. Growing in Christ requires that we spend time in His word.
Commentator Matthew Henry puts it like this, “A new life requires suitable food. They, being newly born (spiritually), must desire the milk of the word. Infants desire common milk, and their desires toward it are fervent and frequent.
In what ways have you made it a consistent spiritual diet? At another time, for a deeper study, read Psalm 119 and write down several ways that God’s Word can help you in your daily life.
Let’s examine what Jesus said about this subject. Jesus said, “…Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). How have you applied this to your life? How has this application nourished your life?
Jesus also tells us in the Gospel of John 8:31-32, “If you continue in My Word, than you are truly disciples of mine. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” What does this mean in your life? Once you are spiritually mature you are to meditate on the Word day and night. This is what Jesus means by “continue” in My Word. “Blessed is the man who…delights in the law of the Lord. And in His law, he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1-3). The word “law” here is referring to the “Word” of God. How can we do this in our hectic world today?
If we do not earnestly seek for the will of God in our lives, He will let us stumble. The morning is an excellent time for devotions. If you schedule to do it during your day or in the evening, what happens when your day or evening become so hectic that your devotion time gets pushed out of the line up?
By having communion with God the Father in the morning, we are saying, “God, you are most important in my priorities and I will give you the first fruit of my day.” If we allow time for God first thing in the morning, He will bring together the rest of your day. You will be full spiritually and will not be hungry for this world. If you wait until later to have devotions with your Father, it most likely gets pushed out of the line up and never gets done, sometimes going days without talking with God or reading His Word. You will fill yourself up with the world and be to stuffed to eat spiritually when you get home.
Principle 2: We Must Pray
In Matt. 26:31-75 Jesus gives the command to His disciples to “Watch and pray…” (v.41). Why do you think He commanded this? If you go on to read, He tells us why, “So that you will not enter into temptation.” Jesus commanded His disciples to “watch and pray.” The word “watch” here means to “be wide awake, alert.”
Alexander Maclaren said, “Watchfulness and prayer are inseparable. The one discerns dangers; the other arms against them.”
Why do you think Peter failed so much at resisting temptation? Peter’s flesh was weak because of his prayerlessness. Apparently he did not feel sufficient need for it. He would rather sleep. When physically exhausted, sleep is undoubtedly more important than prayer, but at the crisis moment peter should have prayed. Jesus was about to be crucified! What was the most serious result of Peter’s prayerfulness? He ended up denying Jesus three times. Think about your prayer life. What has been the result of your prayerlessness?