In Need of Growth by Will Harrison
Attention Grabber: Unhealthy Habits vs. Healthy Habits…
Think about snacks that are unhealthy for us. For instance, mine is Oreos. I can get into a habit (rhythm) of eating oreos and milk every night. It’s dangerous.
Do you know what tends to happen [to my body] when I eat Oreos and milk every night?
It’s dangerous! It’s an unhealthy habit… it stunts growth! …Oreos are not going to make muscles get bigger! Oreos are not going to make the waist get smaller!
We have many habits (like eating Oreos) that can prevent us from growing physically as we should! We also have many habits that keep us from growing spiritually! Today, we’re going to examine why we need growth.
Substitute your phone for Oreos. You can think about “screen time” on your phone. Maybe have everyone take a look at their “screen time” for the week.
What do you want to become? How are you growing spiritually?
We, too, are challenged by Paul to grow! We need growth. But how do we grow? How can we grow?
Something I find very interesting is who talks about growth in the Bible. We find Paul talking about growth with Timothy (1 Timothy 4:12). We hear Peter say at the end of his second letter, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
Paul talks about growth in this way… “So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Colossians 1:10
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
Peter talks about growth in this way… “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation…” 1 Peter 2:2
“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 3:18
In these 4 instances, Paul and Peter encourage followers of Jesus to grow! The “how” is not always explicitly given, but the hints are in the text! God is the one who will bring the growth! Increasing in our knowledge of Him will bring the growth! Longing to be in His Word will bring the growth!
What we see is that one way growth comes for people of God is to be in His word. This is a habit worth making.
“Determined journeys” to hear God’s word.
Do you know how followers of Christ studied “the Bible” in the early church days? Those days right after Jesus…
There wasn’t a “Bible”… They couldn’t print copies of the Bible yet! They had scrolls of “The Writings” – what we call the Old Testament…
And so they would make these determined journeys to hear the words read…
- the cost to travel
- the time given up in a day
- the other things they could be doing
Gotta be away from work, soccer practice, debate practice (in today’s terms)…
And if they’re going to remember these words, they’ve got to commit these to memory! They’re not pulling them up on their phone.
When I think about this, I’m in awe. So…we need to be making determined journeys to hear the LORD. So, how do we do that?
Bible Study Methods
[Teacher… at this point, take a few moments to talk practically about some methods of studying the Bible. I think it will be helpful Disclaimer: If you bring up a method from below, be able to explain how it works and how it’s helpful.]
Here are some methods I’ve found helpful:
- Scripture – write it out
- Observation – what stands out? What is being said?
- Application – how can you live out this verse today?
- Prayer – respond to what you read in prayer…
- Discovery Bible Study: Read the passage, Then ask…
- What do I learn about the Lord from this passage?
- What do I learn about people (myself) from this passage?
- How can I obey this passage?
- Who needs to hear this passage? Who can share this with?
I believe you can do this with almost any passage in the Bible.
- Memorize scripture (Word study)
- This is where you read a passage and notice how certain words are used over and over in that passage.
- John 10. How many times is the word sheep or shepherd mentioned?
- John 17. How often do I see the word “give/given/gave”? The Father gave His Son. Jesus gave his life. Given hope, given love, given freedom, given His word… we are the receivers of many blessings from God.
- Ask yourself, “What’s the significance of that word being repeated?”
- Praying through scripture
- There’s a lot to this… But simply, praying scripture is taking a single verse or a passage a praying that scripture. Instead of forming the words on our own, we’re praying what is already written in the Bible. An example passage that is good to see this is Psalm 23.
There are many more study methods than just these… We need to use these tools to help us grow!
Here’s the main point:
Paul told Timothy…
- (ONE) POSSESS God… allow God to take up space in your life
- (TWO) PROMOTE God… set an example by the way you live…
- (THREE) And now PRACTICE GODLY LIVING…
To become who the LORD knows we can become… we must grow. And spiritual growth comes through studying God’s word.
Let’s remember, we’re establishing habits everyday. We’ve got to avoid the Oreo kind of habits… We must pursue habits that enable us to grow spiritually!
We also need to be equipped with the right tools to study His word… We’ve seen what some of those tools look like.
Now, let’s use the tools we’ve got.
Spiritual growth is evidence of a healthy Jesus follower.
We need to grow. Not just to survive, but to thrive.