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Are you a growing Christian?


Are you?


If I offered you a measuring device designed to measure spiritual growth, what would you find? Today we have all kinds of fancy gadgets that can measure just about anything. For instance, we can measure our height, our weight, including the amount of body fat we have verses the amount of muscle. We can measure our cholesterol level, our blood pressure, our sugar level and so many other things. We can diagnose everything about us physically, but today I want to give you a tool that can help you measure how well you’re doing spiritually. In fact, I want to give you four spiritual tools, called disciplines that can help you measure how you’re doing spiritually.


John 15: 1-5 (NIV) I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.


Jesus Christ taught His disciples that the key to spiritual growth is abiding in Him. He said, 7 words that can change the way you live your Christian life. “apart from me you can do nothing.”


Until you come to terms with the reality of your need to abide daily with Christ you will always be a yo-yo Christian, up and down, up, and down. Up one minute, down the next, on fire for God one day and burned out the next.


Many Christians today can be found living in two extremes: there are those Christians who are, “Active but empty” and secondly, there are Christian who are “Uninterested and empty. You see we have lost our focus for what it takes to be a growing believer. We are engaged in activity or passivity when what God really wants for us is abide in Him.


Abiding in Christ means to remain in, to stay in, or even to continue in, a constant, continuing, committed, consecrated, called-out relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord!


So, what are the tools we need to measure our Christian growth?


1. THE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE OF ABIDING IN THE WORD


John 15:7 (NIV)

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.


Jesus is telling us if we want to be a growing believer, a disciple, we must abide in His word.


John 8:31-32 (KJV) Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”


The way to have Christ living in us is to have His word in us. The word of God is food to our souls.


Matthew 4:4 (KJV)

Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.


Romans 10:17 (NKJV)

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.


We receive the word many ways:


1. By listening to the Word of God taught or preached to us.

2. Reading the Word of God

3. Studying the Word of God

4. Memorizing the Word of God

5. Meditating on the Word of God

6. Applying the Word of God to our lives.

His word in us enables us to live for Christ effectively.


Psalm 119:11 (NKJV) Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You!


God’s word has the power to transform your life! Its teachings will radically change your thinking, and thus your lifestyle.



2. THE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE OF PRAYING IN FAITH


“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.


Another important discipline necessary for Christian growth is “praying in faith.” A growing Christian should have or should be developing and maintaining a lifestyle of prayer.

How do we pray?


Matthew 6:5-6 (New Living Translation)

When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I assure you, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father secretly. Then your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you.


1. Jesus assumes that as His children we will pray.

2.“When you pray” Pray to God the Father, not to be heard of men.

3. Have a private place of prayer, “a prayer closet”

4. Be consistent in prayer, being consistent helps us to understand that we as God's children, are living in unity with Him.

5. Keep a prayer journal, writing all your prayers in a diary gives you a way to connect to God and convey all your positive and negative emotions, fears, and aspirations. It helps build a bond between you and God.

6. Follow a pattern of prayer (A.C.T.S.), ADORATION, CONFESSION, THANKSGIVING, SUPPLICATION.


3. THE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE OF FELLOWSHIPPING WITH BELIEVERS


“Fellowshipping” refers to that special relationship we share with all other believers. All true Christians have a fellowship, a true partnership, with other believers. Our mutual faith in Christ builds a bond of communion and commitment with one another. We need one another. We are a family.


Abiding in Christ means we will seek to live in fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ.


John 13:34-35

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”


God has provided a home for His children; it’s called the church. The church is the place where relationships are nurtured, where love is expressed, compassion shared, encouragement is given, and acceptance offered. It is the beginning point of all ministries. It is the body of Christ here on earth, a living, growing body. If you are to abide in Christ, you must abide in His church. You will never find a well-balanced Christian who is not involved in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ somewhere.


Not only are we to have a relationship with other believers through the church, called fellowship, but we are also to have a relationship with unbelievers in this world, and that’s called witnessing.



4. THE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE OF WITNESSING TO THE WORLD


John 15:8 (NKJV)

“By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so, you will be My disciples.


Jesus said that the way to show that we are his disciples is to bear much fruit. Witnessing is the natural outgrowth of the abiding or growing Christian live. If we are living in His word, praying in faith, and fellowshipping with believers, it will be natural and normal to share with others what Christ is doing in our lives. In fact, you won’t be able to help but share or witness to those around you. Bearing fruit is more than witnessing but it always involves witnessing.


Jesus said, in Matthew 4:19 “I will make you fishers of men.” Jesus also said, in Acts 1:8 “You shall be my witnesses.”


Notice: the first two spiritual disciplines deal with our relationship to God. That relationship is represented by a vertical relationship. When we hear the word, God speaks to us. When we pray, we speak to God.


The last two spiritual disciplines deal with our relationship with man. This is a horizontal relationship between a believer, the church, and the world. When we faithfully attend church, we fellowship with other believers. When we are faithful to share Christ with the lost then we are witnessing to the world.


If you truly desire to develop a close, growing relationship with Christ, then learn and put into practice the spiritual disciplines of:


1. Living in the word – Bible Study

2. Praying in faith – Prayer

3. Fellowshipping with Believers – faithful, consistent, regular attendance in God’s church

4. Witnessing to the World – sharing your faith with others


God Bless, Israel

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