Since I love reading the Bible, this step in becoming a growing Christian shouldn't be a huge leap.
What is a growing Christian?
But what is a growing Christian? And what does that look like?
First, as silly as it may seem, here are some definitions of the word "grow."
- (of a living thing) Produce by cultivation.
- Become gradually or increasingly.
- (of a person) Come to feel or know something over time.
I'm pretty fond of that first definition: to produce something by cultivation.
It makes me think of God's Word being planted in my heart and producing fruit that pleases him, something for which I pray often.
The second definition may be more practical in that it's intended for a person: to come to know something over time.
Coming to know God over time, through diligent study and with an open heart, I want to grow my relationship with Him to an ever-deepening level.
And as for defining Christian, I think we can agree a Christian is someone who has accepted Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior.
So, a growing Christian is someone in whom God's Word is cultivated, and who gradually comes to know God through loving His Word.
Seems fair, right?
What does a growing Christian look like?
Well, what does a growing Christian look like? How do I become one?
To think into that question, I'm going to quote some of the same Scriptures Pastor Greg Laurie cited in his talk.
Psalm 119: 159-160
"159 Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness.160 Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever."- Psalm 119: 159-160 (KJV)
I don't know about you, but I don't speak King James English.
It sure is challenging to read, but I also think it's a whole lotta fun.
Since the above and all following Scriptures are quoted from the King James Version of the Bible, and to do them some semblance of justice, following are some definitions of the words used.
- Believe; think.
- Take (something) into account when making an assessment or judgment.
- A general rule intended to regulate behavior or thought.
- Stimulate or become stimulated.
- Give or restore life to.
- Cause (a fire) to burn.
How awesome is that? To give or restore life to, and to cause a fire to burn (perhaps within a person; a fire for God?).
- In a manner corresponding or conforming to.
- Tenderness and consideration toward others.
- Morally right or justifiable; virtuous.
- The ability to make considered decisions.
- A decision of a court or judge.
So, here's how I read verses 159-160. It begins with a request...
God, when judging me, think about, and take into account how I love your rules for living.
With your tenderness Lord, give life to me and light a fire within my heart that burns for you.
Your Word is the truth as it has been since you created the world. And every one of the decisions you have and will make are forever virtuous.
Put another way
Thereby, a growing Christian loves God's Word and asks the Lord to give him or her new life through it.
Because God's Word is truth, a growing Christian can know that all of the decisions He makes for us are the right ones.
2 Timothy 3: 16-17
Another bit of Scripture Pastor Greg quotes in his sermon is from the second book of Timothy.
"16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."- 2 Timothy 3: 16-17
Again, to unpack the meaning of this Scripture, let's start with some definitions.
- The sacred writings of Christianity contained in the Bible.
- The divine influence believed to have led to the writing of the Bible.
- The drawing in of breath; inhalation.
I've got to stop right here.
Through the heart, He inspired Scripture
So, inspiration can be a divine influence. But inspiration can also be defined as breathing in, perhaps breathing in God.
In turn, by breathing in God, He can be received into the heart. And through the heart, He inspired Scripture.
That is such a beautiful idea.
Now, "Wait," you may be thinking, "doesn't that definition take some liberties in language?"
I don't think so.
When you breathe in oxygen, it's taken into your blood through the lungs. Then that oxygen-filled blood is distributed throughout your body by your heart.
Hence, by breathing in God, you are receiving Him into your heart. And as previously mentioned, perhaps it's through the heart that God influenced the writing of the Scriptures.
Let's get back on track with more definitions.
- Beneficial; useful.
- A set of beliefs held and taught by a Church.
- An expression of disapproval.
- A change that rectifies (put right) an error.
- Detailed information telling how something should be done.
- Teaching; education.
- The quality of being morally right or justifiable.
- A holy man or saint.
Note: As I understand it, believers in Christ were once all referred to as saints.
- Having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.
- Free from any flaw or defect in condition or quality; faultless.
- Very much; greatly.
- Supply someone with (something); give (something) to someone.
- Be a source of; provide.
- archaic term for "to."
Alright. So here we go.
All of the Bible is written from hearts having breathed in the Lord.
His Word is a set of beliefs that are beneficial for citing where in life a Christian has come up short;
for recommending the necessary change to that shortcoming;
and for teaching how to live a morally upright life;
So that a Christian may be free from fault, and will be a greatly positioned to do God's will.
I don't fancy myself to be a theologian or to have any profound insight or expertise in reading the Bible.
As a new and eager believer in Christ, I'm enjoying the Scriptures. They are, as I understand it, how God communicates with us.
In fact, getting to know Him through His Word in the Scriptures is not only fun and fascinating, but it's also my priority.
But that doesn't mean that my interpretations here are "right."
Rather, my simplifications of the King James Version of the Bible are how I'm coming to comprehend God's Word.
So, if what I've shared here angers you, relief is just a click away.
Now, here's the last bit of Scripture I'd like to share that Pastor Greg Laurie cited in his talk.
Matthew 7: 24-25
"24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock."- Matthew 7: 24-25
I love the imagery used in the above verses.
A house built on rock.
Rain pouring down.
The wind battering the house.
And yet the house stands.
The house remains standing because it's built upon that rock.
There's not much to define in those verses. The story speaks for itself.
The house is you, me, all of us individually and collectively.
The rock is God's Word.
With God's Word, we will weather any storm in life.
Through life's troubles, with God's Word as our foundation, we will remain standing.
Given the Scriptures Pastor Greg Laurie cited, to become a growing Christian I need to,
- Learn God's Word.
- Follow God's Word.
- Love God's Word.
- Build my life on the foundation of truth that is God's Word.
And all that achieved by reading and studying God's Word found in the Bible.
Whew! That was fun.
What about you? How would you define a growing Christian and how do you become one?