“But grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:18a
I remember the night I was saved like it was yesterday. I was only 11 years old, but it was very real and powerful. I was baptized at the age of 12, and the following year, I dedicated my life to Christian service. All the spiritual boxes were checked, except for the growing part. I was raised in a great Bible-teaching church. My Pastor was one of the best verse-by-verse preachers in the country. My parents decided to make the 30-minute drive several times a week so we could learn and grow from the best. The Bible teaches, “To whom much is given, of him much will be required” (Luke 12:48). Based on how I had been taught, I fell into this category, what I do not know, or fail to apply is not from a lack of knowledge or teaching. I remember as a young teenager sitting on the front row of my church with my Bible, pen, and notebook in hand at every service. I was so excited to learn God’s Word and grow in my faith. I have always had a desire to know the truth and walk in it. I am still a student of the Bible because I love it, and I need it every day. It can never be exhausted, nor will I finish the course because the Bible is the living Word of God, fresh off the page each day for exactly what I need.
Today, I am thankful to belong to The River Church and the strong emphasis that is placed on spiritual growth. If you are not in a weekly Growth Community, I highly recommend that you join one. The Apostle Paul warns us, “Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25). The walk of the believer is not to be done alone. We need each other for encouragement, accountability, friendship, and prayer. Studying God’s Word each week with other believers will not only encourage you but also boost your faith, and equip you to share the Gospel.
It is important to remember when studying God’s Word, context is key! Many times we treat Bible verses like a bowl of mixed nuts. We pick out the ones we like and ignore the ones that we do not like. All of the Word is useful and purposeful for correction, instruction, and encouragement in our daily growth. When we take a verse out of its context, we will most likely change the meaning, causing confusion and doubt. If you do not have a desire to grow in the Lord, I encourage you to pray and ask God to place that desire in your heart.
The goal for every believer should be:
To know God’s Word
To apply God’s Word
To memorize God’s Word
To teach God’s Word