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A Sign of Our Spiritual Growth
2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (KJV)
Do you some time wonder if you are growing spiritually? Does your work demand more and more of your attention? Do your old habits fight to break into your new life in Christ? Do temptations continue? Is there some way you know if your faith is continuing to grow?
KNOW GOD . . . One of the first signs that you are maturing as a Christian is an increasing hunger to know God. Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. (KJV) . . . Do you treasure the time you spend alone with Jesus? Do you want to know what the Father’s will is? Do you try to find times to speak with the Lord and learn more about Him? IF you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, that is great! You most certainly are experiencing growth in your spiritual life.
KNOW HIS WORD . . . Another sign of spiritual growth is an increasing desire to know and meditate on God’s Word. Do you meditate on Scripture, hoping to collect more truth? If so, God has given you a longing to understand the truths found in His Word.
KNOW HIS GRACE . . . Along with longing for God’s fellowship and wisdom, a true sign of spiritual growth is being aware of your sinfulness and the extent of God’s grace in your life. The more you learn about God’s characteristics, the more you will be able to sense His grace. The enormity of the Father’s redeeming grace is chastening to say the least. It makes you aware of your weakness and foolishness. Only then, when you have become humble, can you fully accept God’s will for your life.
Obedience always brings blessing
Luke 11:28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. (KJV) . . . The Lord’s modest requirements often serve as stepping-stones to life’s most wonderful blessings. Simon Peter illustrates what can happen when we say yes to God.
Luke 5:1-11 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. 3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. 4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. 6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. 7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: 10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. 11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him. (KJV) . . . On this day a large crowd pressed around Jesus while He preached. The Lord used Peter’s boat from which to speak to the multitude. Afterwards He asked the future apostle to move the boat a little way from shore, which was not a strange request. Peter’s obeying Jesus’ request paved the way for a life-changing blessing. From Peter’s example, we learn just how necessary it is to obey God in even the smallest matters.
Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught . . . Peter may have felt tempted to decline, because he was a seasoned fisherman, and he had worked all night for a catch but had returned empty-handed. Now this young teacher, a carpenter, NOT a fisherman . . . asked him to go fishing again.
Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net . . . Peter’s reply reveals the beginning of a lifetime of faith in God. The soon-to-be apostle chose to obey the Lord and to leave the consequences of his decision to Him.
What happened as a result of Peter’s obedience? Jesus established and confirmed His power and sovereignty. Peter and his partners may have started the day off thinking their efforts had yielded nothing. But they ended it in total amazement because they pulled in not one, but TWO overflowing boatloads of fish (verse 7). Saying yes to the Lord’s request resulted in a miracle that transformed not only one fisherman’s life but the lives of the entire group.
Three reasons why obedience is critical to the successful Christian life:
#1. Obeying God in small matters is an essential step in receiving God’s greatest blessings. IF Peter had said, “I’m busy cleaning my nets right now, and I’m tired. I can’t help You because I have to go fishing again tonight.” Or when Jesus asked to use the boat to speak to the people on the shore, Peter could have said, “Why don’t You ask to use that other boat, over there?” IF Peter had said anything other than YES, he would have missed the greatest fishing experience of his life. But because of Peter’s obedience, the Lord arranged a miracle that he would never forget.
God’s greatest blessings sometimes come as a result of our willingness to do something that appears very trivial. Has God been challenging you to do something seemingly unimportant that you have not yet made an effort to accomplish? Have you ever said: ‘It’s too difficult,’ ‘I don’t want to,’ or ‘I have to pray about it first’”?
#2. Our obedience always benefits others. Think of how many people were blessed by Peter’s obedience. Not only could the crowd see the Lord and hear His sermon, but Jesus Himself also benefited, preaching from the boat enabled Him to sit down in comfort while He spoke (verse 3). And too, Peter’s friends had a very profitable day . . . they took in two vessels so full of fish that both began to sink. Most important, they all had the opportunity to witness the Lord’s supernatural provision.
God often rewards others, especially those closest to us, as a result of our obedience. When a father obeys the Lord, his entire family reaps the reward of God’s blessings. When a child obeys, he blesses his parents.
The Lord’s call to obedience always demands our response. However, when we live obedient lives, those who know and love us will sense the peace and joy He has given us. Instead of conflict, there will be contentment, one of many great parts of experiencing God’s goodness.
#3. When we obey God, we will never be disappointed. Peter probably thought that Jesus’ fishing instructions would just be a waste of time. But when Peter obeyed with the Lord’s simple request, Christ brought about a tremendous miracle that gripped Peter with amazement. Jesus turned an empty boat into a full one. We, like Peter, must recognize that obeying God is always the wisest course of action for us. The Lord Jesus can also take our troubles, whether related to finances, relationships or career, and change it into something wonderful.
Have you have hesitated to obey God because you fear the consequences of your decision? The Lord’s command is for you to fear Him above all else. The same sovereign, omnipotent God who keeps your heart beating and the Universe working is more than able to handle the results of your obedience. When He tells you to do something and you know without a doubt it is His will . . . DO it! Obey Him! When you choose to obey the Lord, He will bless you. Our obedience will ALWAYS lead to blessing.
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