Growing In Christ
In teaching God’s word for fifteen years, I believe there is no greater joy than to help people grow, and there is no greater sadness than to see people not grow spiritually. We are born again by His Spirit, and there is immense joy in our Father’s heart to see us grow. He desires that we do not become spiritually stagnant, year after year. God’s purpose for us is to increase in Christ as He is revealed in us.
Our growth begins by knowing Christ, by believing and following Him. If you truly know Christ, God will give you a love for Him and love for His Word. This means you will also pursue not just knowing Him, but growing in Him. The Word of God teaches us that when we know Jesus, we must not just know Him in a transactional, positional sense, but as a reality in our lives to experience. There will be a change, and growth to be more and more like Jesus.
This is what Paul the apostle said in,
Galatians 4:19 – “My children – I am again undergoing birth pains until Christ is formed in you!“
When people see you, they must know who Jesus is. They must begin experiencing His love, His humility, His patience, His grace and power through you. You must become godly, manifesting the fruit of the spirit.
Transformed From Natural to Spiritual
2 Corinthians 3:18 – “And we all, with unveiled faces reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, which is from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
We can grow to be like Jesus, by being transformed into His exact image. We must be transformed more and more to be like Jesus in His life, His character, His passion, His desire and His mind. This is the transformation from the natural to the spiritual. The word transform in the Greek is, “metamorphoo,” which is related to “metamorphosis,” which is used in the caterpillar being metamorphosed into a butterfly. This refers to a change that is deep, that is within the heart, and is complete.
Metamorphosis – Inside Out
The process from a caterpillar, to a pupa, and to a butterfly, is called metamorphosis. As we steadfastly look at Christ, we go through a “metamorphosis” and change into the beauty of Jesus Christ. It is a process of change, not on the surface only, not just skin deep but it is radical, it is deep, it is complete, and from the inside out.
In other words, the change we are talking about is not just pretending to love someone, because other people are looking at you. You do not give money to the poor to let people know that you are helping the poor, but because you love them genuinely from your heart. It means that you have this joy, that is independent of circumstances around you.
Romans 13:14 – “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”
The Lord wants to change us into the image of His Son but there is something you and I need to be doing in order to change. This is not a process whereby you sit and God will change you. Although, God is the One who changes you, but there are things you do, that He will bless in this transformation process.
What and How?
What is it that you need to do?
The preceding phrase says, “and we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed.”
How are you transformed? As you behold the glory of the Lord Jesus in His Word and through worship in spirit and in truth, His Spirit changes you into His likeness.
My Testimony – Knowledge to Reality
My studies in Theology gave me sufficient knowledge of scripture but I experienced the Lord when the Holy Spirit began to reveal Christ. Unless the Lord encounters us and we experience Him personally, He will only be part of the facts that we know about Him. For all these years, I have been drinking and eating from God’s Word, and I rejoice that my learning of God’s Word is not only in the time of my study of theology alone, but for all of the years of my Christian walk.Unless the Lord encounters us and we experience Him personally, He will only be part of the facts that we know about Him. Click To Tweet
Bible schools and theological seminaries are not to be shunned. It is useful for people who have a desire to go through them and it definitely has its benefits. However, for me, more than all the study, it has always been a deep hunger to know Jesus Christ and to experience Him as people in the Bible did.
Hungry All The Time
In the early days of my walk with the Lord, I traveled with a ministry to play guitar for their choir. The preachers in that ministry taught me the Word. I was a baby in the Lord and I was looking for milk to drink all the time. I was a very hungry baby and I would not miss any opportunity to hear the Word. I loved every moment of those days and I am always grateful to God to get me teachers who always emphasized on the deep study of the Bible.
During those days, I was completing my University studies through distance education, and so got the time to travel. Learning and understanding the Bible was the best feeding times for me. It is the same today. I still continue in what I had learned, especially the discipline of diligently studying the scriptures.
How To Study The Bible?
To all who want to know how I study the Bible? I use different online tools to help me study, but I must emphasize that revelation, wisdom, and understanding the truth of the word comes only from the Holy Spirit.
I love to hear the Word of God preached. In those days we did not have YouTube, so it was very hard to listen to sermons elsewhere. My Father bought some revival tapes, and I began hearing the word for many hours a day. I read magazines, books, biographies, etc. and I began preparing messages. I shared these messages with different groups of people in different settings. When I look back, I am thankful for the privilege to receive understanding from God’s Word.
I want to encourage you to be someone who will have this kind of appetite to eat and drink from God’s Word. I personally attest to the reality of Jesus, and I believe that as you consume God’s Word on a daily basis, you will grow. I did not change my life and I cannot change my life. However, I can say that my life is different now as compared to what I was fifteen or twenty years ago.
If you ask me how did I change? I can honestly say that all I did was to hear and meditate in God’s Word. I began to see Christ and His glory in all scripture. By God’s grace, I studied it diligently which I still continue to do. I hungered for an experience from God and and over these fifteen years, the Lord has been transforming me, one step at a time.
The Principle Of Context
There is a very important principle in the study of hermeneutics or biblical interpretation, which is the “context” principle. It indicates that no passage of scripture can be correctly interpreted by itself. Each needs to be understood within its context. There is an immediate and a general context. The immediate context is made up of the verses just before and immediately after the one in question. The general context refers to what the Bible says as a whole about the subject matter.
If our interpretation of any passage is in contradiction to any other passage, we have erred. Keeping this in mind, we must interpret the verses using the context principle.
Theme Of The Bible
Christ is the theme of all the Bible, and to know and experience Christ is to understand the Bible. Paul knew the Old Testament scriptures, but he did not understand it until he had an encounter of the Lord Jesus. His encounter moved Him to experience the Lord of the scriptures in truth. As this transpires in our lives, and we know the Lord Jesus first, and we then take Him back into the Bible, we will experience the Word of God in a deeper life transforming way. Jesus Christ is the answer to all things. Therefore, we cannot really understand the Bible until we know the Lord Jesus.Christ is the theme of all the Bible, and to know and experience Christ is to understand the Bible Click To Tweet
To overcome the natural by the spiritual, we must be rooted in the Word and have a deep love for the scriptures. We must experience Christ by knowing Him and living by His Word.