Food For Thought: Christian Growth

Christian growth 1

In Matthew 13:1-9; 18-23, Jesus gives us a template from being a sinner to being called (in the will of God). This is a progression that happens to every believer.

Matthew 13:1-9 talks about sowing a seed into the ground. The seed is a representation of the word of God and the ground is a representation of our hearts. In Matthew 13, Jesus uses a sower sowing a seed to explain to us this process. The sower, Jesus, has a lot of seed, the word, and is spreading the seed on the ground (heart). The first time a person hears the word, he/she is a sinner. This is represented by the seed that fell on the wayside. They may or may not respond to the word but if they are constantly exposed to the word, their hearts will begin to soften towards God.

When they respond to the word, they will be excited with what they hear, and they may not surrender their lives to the Lord. They will be on the fence about accepting Christ as their savior. The rocky patch represents this. In the old Jewish homes at that time, the rocks acted as a fence. When temptations come since they have not made a commitment to the Lord, the sun (tribulations) will reveal what is really in the heart of that person and they revert to their old nature.

Once they make the decision to commit their lives to the Lord the word, seed, is sown in their hearts and the root begins to develop. When they are born again, their spirit is renewed but their soul (mind, will, emotions) is not. If they are not under correct leadership and correct environment they won’t know how to renew their minds. The residue of the sin nature is left in their soul. They will still do things according to this residue until they are retaught how to live according to the spirit. This residue is the cares of this world. If they are not under correct leadership, the thorns (world) chokes the seed (word) and the seed dies. This doesn’t make them a sinner, it simply prevents them from seeing the fruit of the word.

When the believer choses Jesus, commits his/her life to Him, has the correct leadership and the correct environment, when they receive the word they begin to see the fruit of the word. In verse 8 of chapter 13, we see that different people have different levels of fruit. This is caused by how well their spirit and soul agree. James 1:7-8 states that a double minded man will not receive anything from God. Your spirit believes everything from God, but the soul has been taught to believe in things of this world. As you renew your mind your soul begins to agree with the spirit about the things of the Lord. In Romans 12:2, Paul encourages us to leave this world behind us and be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Also, in Romans 12:2, we see there are three levels of success to renewing our minds. The levels are good, acceptable, and perfect. These three are the 30,60 and 100-fold return of the seed. In Ephesians 4:23, the Bible states that we must renew the spirit of our minds. This simply means that we must renew our habits that we do without our knowledge because we have done them for so long. In Joshua 1:8-9, we are instructed to live and breathe the word of God. This process will slowly but surely renew our minds.

Before the creation of man-kind God couldn’t shower His blessings on the earth because the earth was not ready to receive His blessings (Gen 2:4-6). Likewise, we have to prepare our hearts by removing the things of this earth by filling our hearts with the word. In the Garden of Eden, Adam used to spend time with the Lord and God would reveal to him His true nature. That is how we are supposed to live as Christians.

 

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