Sunday, March 4, 2012

Growing Spiritually

"I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his sake. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young people, because you have overcome the evil one. I am writing to you, children, because you know the father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young people, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one." 1 John 2:12-14

My siblings and I went to a winter youth retreat with some of the churches affiliated with ours and we met God in such a special way. We learned about spiritual growth in God. There are three stages which are;
  1. Believe (Children)
  2. Belong (Young People)
  3. Become (Fathers)
The first stage, believe, refers to new birth in Christ.  First though we have to make a decision or choice to follow God or sin.  The story of Adam and Eve shows when this decision is made the first time.  God gave Adam and Eve a choice to either listen to the serpent (Satan) or stand up and say no, and follow God's rule.  We all know that in this choice Adam and Eve make the decision to follow Satan, not God.  Even though this was back when life first started we can still apply it to this day and age, also.  God gives us choices everyday and also the will and power to decide if we want to follow God's direction or Satan's .  By choosing this way, Adam and Eve sinned and therefore "as by one man sin entered into the world" (Romans 5:12-13), and led to the fall of men.  This is when the war between Satan and God begins.  In Revelation 12:7-12 tells of a great dragon and God fighting over the world.  The devil will strike furiously because the devil knows his time will be short (vs.12).  Also out of this choice of Adam and Eve, there were two offspring; those of Cain and those of Seth (Gen. 4:13-14, 25-26).  Seth's are followers of God and Cain's are not, although they profess to be.  After this decision to follow God is made, we have to understand the great work of Christ and what he did for us on the cross.  In order to find this out, we have to ask, why the cross?.  There are four P's that answer this question.

  • Promise -- Genesis 3:15  
  • Principle -- Genesis 22:8 and Hebrews 9:22
  • Prophesies -- Isaiah 53: 6-7
  • Propitiation --  1 John 1:36, 2:2
    • He became us! (Heb. 2:14-15)
    • He fulfilled the law for us! (Rom. 8:34)
    • He paid the price of sin for us!
    • He reconciled us to the Father!
    • He transformed us!         
The second stage, refers  to belonging to the family of God and recognizing the family resemblance because now we have believed God and what he did for us.  In 2 Corinthians 3 vs.18 it says that we who are "contemplating the Lord's glory are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory".  We also have to recognize the family anointing which is found in 2 Corinthians 1:20-22.  King David is a good example of belonging to the family of God.  He is anointed in 1 Samuel 16:10-13 by Samuel, then is appointed in 1 Samuel 16:18-19 as a King, and lastly is Jointed, or joined together into the family of God (Jesus is part of David's lineage). 
The third stage is becoming fathers, and being bold to spread God's love to others.  There are four steps to spiritual maturity and they are; a desire to grow, nourishment, exercise and practice, and then time and patience.  these will lead you to know God and spread his word to others who are lost. Moses shows a good example of a father in Hebrews 15:24-27. 
One song i heard at the retreat was "Something's Gotta Change", and i would like to share it with everyone who reads this post: