Spiritual growth, and not the practice of simply filling our heads with knowledge, is essential for every true follower of Christ. There are many who spend all of their time trying to figure out what this or that scripture means, or are driven to understand the scriptures from an historical perspective. This is a sound human approach to learning what the scriptures have to say, but does not fulfill the spiritual growth needs of those who have been transformed through spiritual rebirth (born-again). Far too many of today’s teachers tell their congregations to spend time in the bible for their spiritual growth when they should be telling them to simply spend more time with the Lord! It is during these times that we allow the Spirit to teach us what God’s wishes us to know and not focus on the things we think we need to know. It is the difference between training yourself up to be a bible scholar and spiritually growing as a true servant of the kingdom who hears and understands the true will of the Father. Just as it is impossible for the world to understand the truths about the scriptures, it is impossible for the true believer to understand these truths by using a human approach as the natural man does. “The natural man does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God. For they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). This is why Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth, “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual, but as worldly—as infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for solid food. In fact, you are still not ready, for you are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and dissension among you, are you not worldly? Are you not walking in the way of man?” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3). It is for this reason there was division in the believers in Corinth and the same reason there is so much division between those who claim to be Christian establishments around the world.
In years past, if someone wished to learn about almost anything they would go to the elder’s in their communities where they could tap into elder’s rich experience. More recently, instead of seeking out elders people began finding answers for themselves in places like libraries where they could research and learn from sources such as encyclopedias. Today, people can research about anything with just a few clicks from massive online databases. Likewise, the same holds true to leaning about the written scriptures. Years ago people depended on their elders, then from the written bible, and today with just a few clicks can learn about things online. However, in every case illustrated above, the information you learn is only as accurate as the source you get it from. You can spend hours hearing or reading things that may sound great, but may not be true. It is normal for mankind to wish to fill their brains with information that relates to things they wish to know about to include what is found in the bible. Consequently, without proper guidance we may end up filling our minds with well-orchestrated messages delivered from well-meaning scholars that, although seem to be good and accurate, may miss the mark concerning God’s truth. Furthermore, we should not be so foolish to believe that those who do not have access to the written scriptures would be left in the cold by Jesus with no means for spiritual growth? There must be a better way.
Therefore, what did Jesus say concerning how we ensure our spiritual growth based on what is true? He said, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you” (John 14:26). John echoed Jesus’ words and explained why. “You, however, have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. I have not written to you because you lack knowledge of the truth, but because you have it, and because no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar, if it is not the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father, but whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. As for you, let what you have heard from the beginning remain in you. If it does, you will also remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He Himself made to us: eternal life. I have written these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. AND AS FOR YOU, THE ANOINTING YOU RECEIVED FROM HIM REMAINS IN YOU, AND YOU DO NOT NEED ANYONE TO TEACH YOU. BUT JUST AS HIS TRUE AND GENUINE ANOINTING TEACHES YOU ABOUT ALL THINGS, SO REMAIN IN HIM AS YOU HAVE BEEN TAUGHT.” (1 John 2:20-27).
Consequently, true spiritual growth comes from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as Jesus promised. He loves us far too much to leave us to our own demise. Religious and worldly minded people will argue against the notion that true believers can learn by just having faith and communicating with our Lord. But of course they would refuse this teaching! “The natural man does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God. For they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
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