Growing in God’s Word
(by Don Osten)
I listened to Barb Clemon’s sermon from Mothers Day, May 12 at FCF—This or That, Meat or Milk? It’s a sermon definitely worth listening to. So is the whole series. But Barb has a wonderful presentation style and the fact that the message was shared on Mothers Day makes this message especially appealing.
Have you discovered the Sunday sermons available on the FCF website and app? Since you’re reading this blog it’s likely that you have. But if not, sermons are available for you to catch up on if you missed the Sunday morning service or to listen to again.
Barb’s message about Meat or Milk from the Word focused used 1 Peter 2:1 as its primary text, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” Barb talked about babies as an extended metaphor for us to gauge our own maturity.
We are encouraged to move past immaturity to maturity. To grow past babyhood in our walk with Christ. To feast on the meat of the Word, moving beyond milk.
I offer a few further ideas to encourage you to grow strong in Christ and in God’s Word.
All of God’s Word is meat. All of God’s Word is given to us to equip us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16,17). All of God’s Word is to be taken seriously—not dismissed as “milk” or labelled as “old covenant.”
Your ability to receive all the Word has for you depends on your openness to the Word and your commitment to personal growth. Like food for our bodies, your spirit man will process God’s Word on the level of your maturity.
I have read the Bible since I was a teenager. I have read portions of the Bible multiple times. I have extended portions memorized or nearly memorized. But what amazes me is that, regardless of my familiarity with any particular portion of God’s Word—like Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount versus something more obscure, like a reference to, say, the “Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites and Jebusites” in the Old Testament—is that it’s my willingness to meditate on God’s Word as well as take action on my own character issues that determines how I will be nourished by any particular passage.
We are drawn to some portions of God’s Word more than others because they speak to us more readily. Your willingness to act on the insights you gain from reading and meditating on God’s Word is what will help you to grow.
Barb referred to a survey undertaken by a large church to determine the factor that caused personal growth. The survey discovered that those who grew “consistently read their Bibles themselves. Consistently. Themselves. Consistently.”
Growing in God’s Word requires us to take action. The breakthrough I see in my own walk with Christ is that as a teenager I learned to read God’s Word for myself. You can too.
Rather than getting bogged down in which translation to read, choose a version that you will read and keep reading. The King James version may be too stilted for you. You may enjoy something like the New International Version, like I do. The Living Bible or The Message are paraphrases that might make the Bible more accessible for you by making it more easily understood. The important thing is to read … consistently … yourself … consistently … yourself.
I’m a believer in meditating on God’s Word. With God’s Word now available in audio formats, use some of your drive time or time you have while you’re physically active but not taxing your mind to listen to God’s Word. There are Bible apps available on your phone that will read the Word to you. And I mean actual recordings instead of a text-to-speech program. My personal favorite is Bible Gateway. (The app is free and has 24 different audio versions—including Chinese, Spanish, Japanese!!! Surely there is one translation in audio format that you can latch onto.)
I suggest listening to a portion of the Word over and again, day after day for a while. For instance, you might listen to Jesus’ parables in Luke 15-16 until you have them nearly memorized. Yes, imagine it, memorizing God’s Word—you! You can.
You might take it further by allowing a phrase to float to your attention and then use your free thinking time throughout the day to return to that phrase and consider its implications. For example, from The Parable of the Shrewd Manager, what could God speak to you by meditating on Jesus’ statement, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much” (Luke 16:10)?
The Bible is a book full of such passages, all worthy of your attention.
Colossians 3:16 exhorts us, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” You can grow and become mighty in God’s Word. And, yeah, listen to Barb’s sermon for a little prod in that direction.