“Our Daily Bread” http://odb.org
The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie http://www.harvest.org/devotional
Written by Bill Rudge for “Living Truth for Today” @ https://billrudgeministries.wordpress.com
Contending for the Faith, part 8
BJ Rudge, Ph.D.
Principle #3: Pursue Spiritual Maturity
I have been coaching high school soccer for the past 20 years. One of things I emphasize to my players is that if they want to be a successful and competitive player, they must first master the basics. In other words, they must learn to effectively pass, dribble, shoot, etc. Players that fail to do this, always end up struggling in their development as they are never able to move on to more advanced skills. As a result, many of them never getting beyond the basics, these players fall short in reaching their potential.
This, too, is the case in our spiritual lives as we will not grow if we do not go beyond the basics of our faith. This was the problem with the Corinthians and is why the Apostle Paul could only feed them with milk and not solid food, “But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3; see also Hebrews). Let us heed this warning and get beyond the milk of our faith. In fact, if we want to be effective in contending for the faith, we must pursue spiritual maturity. It is only by doing this can we be better equipped to discern truth from error:
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:12-14).
So what are some things that we can do to grow spiritually? As it relates to the specific issue of having discernment and contending for the faith, the following are a few things that each of us should do. First, we must meditate upon God’s Word (Joshua 1:8). In other words, we must study, reflect and apply God’s Word on a daily basis. As we do this, we need to employ an effective method of Bible study. Tools, such as commentaries, Bible dictionaries, etc., can be great ways to help us better understand the passages that we are studying.
Second, we need to have an intentional prayer life (Colossians 4:2). Rather than just praying quick prayers with a laundry list of needs, we need to be men and women who separate time each day to seek the Lord.
Third, we need to develop a good theological library. Beyond commentaries and Bible dictionaries, we should also acquire good books on theology. Like putting the pieces of a puzzle together, these sources help supplement our study of God’s Word, by giving us a clearer picture on topics, such as who is God.
Finally, we need to seek out solid teachers. Along with having a pastor who can expound upon God’s Word, everyone should create a database of teachers and/or ministries that you can go to on a variety of doctrinal issues. These ministries, which specialize in researching specific topics from a biblical perspective, are great ways to find information in an effective and time-consuming manner. As new teachings and ideas continue to come to the forefront, it is extremely helpful to have these teachers and ministries at your disposal.
These steps, along with others, are great ways to grow in our faith. It is through this growth that we can avoid being led away by error, as we stand firm upon the Word of God:
“Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (2 Peter 3:14-18)
As we conclude our study on biblical discernment, my prayer is for God to empower everyone reading this with the wisdom and knowledge to “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). Until the day the Lord returns, we must never grow weary in this task. The implications of this battle for truth are eternal, so “keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16). Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith… guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called ‘knowledge,’ for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you” (1 Timothy 6:11, 12, 20, 21).
brm7 | December 15, 2015 at 6:50 PM | Tags: Biblical discernment, contending for the faith, infants in Christ, spiritual maturity, Word of God | Categories: Apologetics, Discernment, Uncategorized | URL: http://wp.me/p23cH2-j0
Picture credit: https://www.google.com/search?q=Picture+Joshua+1:8+Bible&rlz=1C1VFKB_enUS610US619&espv=2&biw=1190&bih=856&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiC3LLErrPSAhUFyGMKHfZZD3YQsAQIGQ#imgrc=ZKiIUFt1a3Dd_M: