Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lesson 17 - A Heart Strengthened by Spiritual Growth

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. – 2 Peter 3:18

Let’s look at Proverbs 31:10-31…

10. Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14. She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. 31. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Spiritual Growth is what keeps us fresh and excited and motivated in our godly pursuits.

Our spiritual growth in Jesus Christ – growing to be more like Him strengthens our hearts, fills them, and empowers us to obey His commands.

We have two options for how we live…with Jesus Christ or without Him.

And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. – 1 John 5:11-12

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; - Romans 3:23

A new beginning:

When we come to a saving knowledge of Christ, we are given a new beginning, a fresh start, forgiveness for the past, wisdom for handling life, and power for doing what’s right.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. – 2 Corinthians 5:17

God’s love and acceptance:

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. – Ephesians 1:6

God’s power in the Holy Spirit:

God empowers you through His Holy Spirit to do good, to effect change in your life, to make your life fulfilling and meaningful, to help others, and to minister for Christ.

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. – Acts 1:8

God’s total sufficiency:

No matter what you are facing or dealing with, remember God’s promise –

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

Spiritual Growth involves the pursuit of knowledge.

The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness. – Proverbs 15:14

An intelligent person purposefully seeks knowledge but fools nibble randomly.

5-step process:

1. Aim at expertise – select five areas you’d like to become an expert in.

What do you want to be known for? What topics do you want your name associated with?

Personal spiritual growth is all about preparation for ministry. It’s about filling yourself up first so that you have something to give.

2. Fill these areas – start gathering information on your five areas. Don’t forget to read your bible to see first hand what God says about your area of interest.

Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, - 2 Timothy 1:9

Spiritual growth includes stewardship of your body.

But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. – 1 Corinthians 9:27

Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. – Galations 5:23

3. Increase in knowledge -- But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. James 1:22

4. Have a plan – when it comes to increasing your knowledge of God, you have to do a certain thing in a certain place with certain items at a specific time. Sound familiar…our meditation time with God.

5. Do something – develop a plan…something is better than nothing.

Spiritual growth blesses others. Try these three ways to improve your relationships with people.

1. Mind your mind. Your actions will reveal your attitude toward people.
     Proverbs 23:7

     Thoughts that are critical, negative, harmful, and jealous not only go against God’s Word, but they spawn actions that are critical, negative, harmful, and jealous.

     Philippians 4:8

     Train yourself to think loving, positive, sweet thoughts when it comes to other people.

2. Mind your mouth.

     Proverbs 31:26. If her thoughts weren’t wise or kind, her mouth was shut!

3. Mind your manners. The best way to be pleasing to God is to be the servant of all.

     Romans 12:10

     Philippians 2:4-5

     Become other-oriented rather than self-oriented.

God calls you to love Him, first and foremost, with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.

     Luke 10:27

He wants to allow that rich love you enjoy in Him to overflow into your family, neighbors, and the lives of others.

That is why a heart strengthened by spiritual growth in Him is so very important!

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