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Watching Your Spiritual Diet

by John MacArthur

Most of us have known people whose bodies have not grown or matured properly. It’s sad to encounter people with cognitive handicaps, brain damage, or other developmental obstacles that have hindered their growth. Many of them remain locked in a child-like state—others tragically don’t progress even that far.

In a similar way, some Christians remain locked in a perpetual state of spiritual infancy. However, unlike those suffering with mental handicaps, Christians struggling with arrested spiritual development have no one to blame but themselves.

All Christians are supposed to be growing in Christlikeness: “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29). But there is often a disconnect between Romans 8:29 and what we see happening in the church. Some Christians simply don’t grow. Spiritually they remain stunted, never becoming what God has called them to be.

Worse still, if you challenge these believers, they may deny culpability for their stunted growth and indignantly argue that they are growing—albeit at their own pace! Everybody wants to grow; it’s just that some people want to grow with no effort, and that’s where the problem lies.

While I was in college, I wasted my time and experienced little, if any, growth as a Christian. But when I began seminary I tasted God’s Word in a life-transforming way. During those seminary days I learned to study the Bible systematically, and that’s when I began to grow. Ever since that time I have found that my spiritual growth is directly proportionate to the amount of time and effort I put into the study of Scripture. And all of my experiences ministering to other Christians have only reinforced that conviction.

When believers aren’t growing, it’s almost always symptomatic of a failure to be in God’s Word. They may attend church regularly, but what they learn dissipates rapidly once they exit the building. They often complain that they’re not getting much out of church or the Christian life. They are weak and rundown when it comes to facing temptations, trials, problems, and challenges. They lack the vigor to do much of anything for the Lord.

The root cause of their arrested development is spiritual malnourishment—their souls are starved for wholesome spiritual food. The Bible refers to itself as milk, bread, and meat, but spiritually a lot of Christians are trying to survive and thrive on candy, Cokes, and fries. They aren’t growing because their diet is tragically deficient. Ironically, the solution to their problems is in the very thing they refuse to feed upon—God’s Word.

How to Eat Right and Grow Spiritually

Continue: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B170515

Ten Questions Christians Should Ask of Their Entertainment

“But,” says one, “are we not to have amusements?” Yes, such amusements as you can take in the fear of God. Do what Jesus would have done.” —Charles Spurgeon

We live in an unprecedented age of entertainment. The average American spends over ten hours per day in front of a screen.

Go to: http://www.kevinhalloran.net/ten-questions-christians-should-ask-of-their-entertainment/

Rule #6: Redeem Your Time (8 Rules for Growing in Godliness)

https://www.challies.com/articles/rule-6-redeem-your-time-8-rules-for-growing-in-godliness

3 Reasons experience is the best teacher

“I usually get taught lessons the hard way, because God wants me to remember.”

– Duane Chapman

YOU DON’T FORGET

I don’t know about you, but I’ve blown it big time in my life. Do you remember learning something the hard way? Doesn’t it make you remember what happened “last time,” whatever that was? The Apostle Paul wrote, “I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead” (Phil 3:13), but instead, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:14). We should stop tripping over what’s behind us…we need to keep pressing ahead and learn from our mistakes.

Read the rest:

http://www.christianquotes.info/images/3-reasons-experience-is-the-best-teacher/

The Meaning of Suffering

He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. (Hebrews 11:26)

We do not choose suffering simply because we are told to, but because the One who tells us to describes it as the path to everlasting joy.

He beckons us into the obedience of suffering not to demonstrate the strength of our devotion to duty or to reveal the vigor of our moral resolve or to prove the heights of our tolerance for pain, but rather to manifest, in childlike faith, the infinite preciousness of his all-satisfying promises.

Moses “[chose] rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin . . . For he was looking to the reward” (Hebrews 11:25–26). Therefore, his obedience glorified the God of grace, not the resolve to suffer.

This is the essence of Christian Hedonism. In the pursuit of joy through suffering, we magnify the all-satisfying worth of the Source of our joy. God himself shines as the brightness at the end of our tunnel of pain.

If we do not communicate that he is the goal and the ground of our joy in suffering, then the very meaning of our suffering will be lost.

The meaning is this: God is gain. God is gain. God is gain.

The chief end of man is to glorify God. And it is truer in suffering than anywhere else that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.

Rejoicing in Pain

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.” (Matthew 5:11–12)

Christian Hedonism says that there are different ways to rejoice in suffering as a Christian. All of them are to be pursued as an expression of the all-sufficient, all-satisfying grace of God.

One way of rejoicing in suffering comes from fixing our minds firmly on the greatness of the reward that will come to us in the resurrection. The effect of this kind of focus is to make our present pain seem small in comparison to what is coming: “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18; cf.2 Corinthians 4:16–18). In making the suffering tolerable, rejoicing over our reward will also make love possible.

“Love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, andyour reward will be great” (Luke 6:35). Be generous with the poor “and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:14)

Another way of rejoicing in suffering comes from the effects of suffering on our assurance of hope. Joy in affliction is rooted in the hope of resurrection, but our experience of suffering also deepens the root of that hope.

For example, Paul says, “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” (Romans 5:3–4).

Here, Paul’s joy is not merely rooted in his great reward, but in the effect of suffering to solidify his hope in that reward. Afflictions produce endurance, and endurance produces a sense that our faith is real and genuine, and that strengthens our hope that we will indeed gain Christ.

 

Check out the podcast – 10/29/16 Clarity – Suffering