The Key to Spiritual Growth
Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
2 Peter 3:18
Spiritual growth is not mystical, sentimental, devotional, or psychological. It’s not the result of some clever secret or formula. It is simply matching your practice with your position.
As believers, our position in Christ is perfect: we are complete in Him (Col. 2:10); we have all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3); and we have received all spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3). But now we need to progress in our daily lives in a way that is commensurate with our exalted position.
Today’s verse provides the most important concept in understanding and experiencing spiritual growth. Giving glory to God is directly related to spiritual growth. Therefore, it is vital that we understand what it means to glorify Him.
|February 1||Pursuing the Knowledge of God|
“More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ.”
God’s greatest desire for us is that we seek diligently to know Him.
To know God and all that He has revealed about Himself is the highest pursuit of life. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Prov. 9:10). Such a realization should really be the starting point for all of life’s other pursuits.
As David gave his throne to his son Solomon, his primary counsel was that Solomon know God: “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever” (1 Chron. 28:9).
Knowing God not only determines the quality of one’s present life, but also the destiny of one’s life in eternity. Jesus says, “And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent” (John 17:3). Eternal life is simply knowing God in an intimate way for the rest of eternity. It begins here on earth when we believe in Christ and partake of His very nature and life.
How can we know God? The Lord says, “You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13). Solomon teaches us, “For if you cry for discernment, lift your voice for understanding; if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will discern the fear of the Lord, and discover the knowledge of God” (Prov. 2:3–5). This pursuit of God must be our top priority in life. Otherwise, it is so easy to be distracted by the pursuit of money, career success, personal power and prestige, or any earthly endeavor that demands our time and energy.
Suggestions for Prayer: Thank the Lord that you know Him personally.
For Further Study: Read 2 Peter 1:1–11. What are the benefits to those who know God? ✧ What qualities should be evident in your life?
A LIVING PERSON IS PRESENT
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
A loving Personality dominates the Bible, walking among the trees of the garden and breathing fragrance over every scene. Always a living Person is present, speaking, pleading, loving, working and manifesting Himself whenever and wherever His people have the receptivity necessary to receive the manifestation….
But why do the very ransomed children of God themselves know so little of that habitual, conscious communion with God which Scripture offers? The answer is because of our chronic unbelief. Faith enables our spiritual sense to function. Where faith is defective the result will be inward insensibility and numbness toward spiritual things. This is the condition of vast numbers of Christians today. No proof is necessary to support that statement. We have but to converse with the first Christian we meet or enter the first church we find open to acquire all the proof we need.
A spiritual kingdom lies all about us, enclosing us, embracing us, altogether within reach of our inner selves, waiting for us to recognize it. God Himself is here waiting our response to His presence. This eternal world will come alive to us the moment we begin to reckon upon its reality. POG048-050
Lord, give me faith to believe, to see, to know Your awesome Presence and bring Your spiritual kingdom alive in my life. Amen. 
Obeying Jesus’ Call
He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.—Matt. 4:19–20
Peter and Andrew obeyed Jesus’ call right away—“Immediately they left their nets and followed Him”—an indication of how determined they were to go with the Lord. The word “followed” carries the meaning of being committed to imitating the one he or she follows.
Past surveys have shown that 95 percent of all professing Christians have never led someone to faith in Jesus Christ. Too often they are like the reclusive, frugal man many years ago who accumulated 246 expensive violins in the attic of his house in Italy. Because he selfishly acquired and held on to those instruments, the world never heard the beautiful music the violins were intended to play. Many believers hide their light and store away the great treasure they possess as children of God. As a result, 95 percent of the world’s spiritual violins have not been played for others.
Evangelist D. L. Moody especially admired two similar paintings. The first depicted a person in the midst of a storm clinging with both hands to a cross firmly planted in a rock. The other picture also showed a person in a storm firmly grasping a cross. But in this one the man was reaching out with his other hand to rescue someone who was about to drown. Both paintings pictured a Christian valiantly holding on to Christ. But the second one portrayed the believer reaching out for another who was about to be lost. For us, as for D. L. Moody, the second picture should be the favorite.
|Would “immediately” describe the way you travel to Jesus’ side when He calls? How quickly does His Word make its way from your conscious mind into conscious action?
OUR GOD: ALL SUFFICIENT
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Have we modern men and women never given thought or meditation concerning the eternal nature of God? Who are we to imagine that we are “bailing out” the living God when we drop a $10 bill in the Sunday offering plate?
Let us thank God for the reality of His causeless existence. Our God only is all-sufficient, uncreated, unborn, the living and eternal and self-existent God!
I refer often to the great worshiping heart of Frederick William Faber, who in these words celebrated his vision of God’s eternal self-existence:
Father! the sweetest, dearest Name,
That men or angels know!
Fountain of life, that had no fount
From which itself could flow.
Thy vastness is not young or old,
Thy life hath never grown;
No time can measure out Thy days,
No space can make Thy throne!
Dear Heavenly Father, my daily problems must seem so trivial to You, the eternal God. Yet You invite Your children to bring their cares and concerns to You. Praise be to God!
|February 1||Joy and Godliness|
“I rejoice and share my joy with you all” (Phil. 2:17).
True joy is directly related to godly living.
Philippians is often called the epistle of joy, and rightly so because the believer’s joy is its major theme. Paul loved the Philippian Christians, and they loved him. When they learned that he had been imprisoned for preaching the gospel, they were deeply concerned.
Paul wrote to alleviate their fears and to encourage their joy. Of his own circumstances he said, “Even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. And you too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me” (Phil. 2:17–18).
Often a Jewish animal sacrifice was accompanied by a libation or drink offering (see, e.g., Num. 15:1–10). The animal was the greater sacrifice, the libation the lesser. Drawing from that picture, Paul placed greater significance on the faith and spiritual well-being of his readers than on his own life. To suffer for Christ’s sake brought him joy, and he wanted the Philippians to understand that perspective and to rejoice with him.
He also wanted them to understand that joy doesn’t operate in a vacuum. It’s directly related to godly living. Christ is its source, obedience its sustenance. We see this in David’s cry of repentance: “Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation” (Ps. 51:12). Paul knew the joy of the Lord because he trusted Christ and obeyed His will.
The scarcity of joy and godliness in the world today makes it imperative that Christians manifest those characteristics. As we do, others will see our good works and will glorify our Father in heaven (Matt. 5:16).
This month we will highlight various aspects of joy and godliness from Philippians 1:1–11 and Colossians 1:9–12. I pray that you will be eager to learn from God’s Word and will willingly obey what you learn, for therein is “joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8).
Suggestions for Prayer: Ask the Holy Spirit to use our daily studies to strengthen your joy and to increase your godliness. ✧ Seek to emulate Paul’s attitude of preferring others to yourself—a key element in joyful living.
For Further Study: Read the book of Philippians, noting each reference to joy. ✧ What brought joy to Paul? ✧ On what or whom do you rely for joy?
GOD’S BOUNDLESS POWER IS ALL AROUND US
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ….
EPHESIANS 1:19, 20
God is spirit and His universe is basically spiritual!
Scientists change their beliefs radically from time to time and I do not want to quote them in confirmation of Christian truth, but there does appear to be a startling parallel between the atomic theory of matter and the biblical concept of the Eternal Word as the source and support of all created things.
Could it be that, as certain mystics have insisted, all things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, are in reality but the goings forth of the power of God?
Whatever God is He is infinitely. In Him lies all the power there is; any power at work anywhere is His. Even the power to do evil must first have come from Him since there is no other source from which it could come.
Lucifer, son of the morning, when he lifted up himself against the Most High, had only the abilities he had received from God. These he misused to become the devil he is.
I am well aware that this kind of teaching raises certain very difficult questions, but we should never retreat before truth simply because we cannot explain it. The fact of sin introduces a confusing element into our thinking about God and the universe and requires that we suspend judgment on many things. The wise man will note that the things we cannot understand have nothing to do with our salvation.
We are saved by the truth we know, and true Christians know that the boundless power of our infinite God is all around us, preserving us and keeping us unto salvation ready to be revealed.
 MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 44). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.
 MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
 Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.
 MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 40). Chicago: Moody Publishers.
 Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 44). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
 Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.