Grow | Devotion #4: When enough is not enough!
I have been attending the River Church for over six years now. I have heard the vision of Reach, Gather, Grow, and Back to Reach consistently twice a year; then more once I joined as staff. When I was asked to write a devotion for Grow, I honestly thought, “What else is there to say that has not already been said!” If this is your first time going through Reach, Gather, and Grow, this is all new and exciting. Maybe you are like me, and you feel like the subject has been exhausted. I know I have found myself there before, and you may be thinking this is a good topic to skip. Let me show you what the Lord showed me regarding this mindset.
In 1 Timothy 4:1-2 we see Paul give Timothy some warnings. These instructions are also for us. “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared.”
Pay attention to the phrases of caution in this passage. It says, “Some will depart,” and they are lead to “devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.” I ask myself, how is the follower of Christ so easily turned away? How does one choose to devote (commit, submit, allocate, give) themselves to the teachings of demons? Think of those words used to describe “devote.” It indicates a complete giving over of oneself to the false teachings. How does this happen? These passages are very troubling to me and hopefully to you.
Later in verses 6-9, he says, “If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance.” To my question, “How is one so easily lead to follow false teachings?” Well, Paul’s answer is because they have not been “trained in the words of faith” and “good doctrine.” In case you missed it, that is the Grow part of our church mission. My initial heart of complaining kind of goes away after reading this. Why do we cover these topics so frequently? Well, Paul says, “If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus.” I am so thankful that we have leaders in the church who are willing to remind us of the importance of growing in the Word. It is an important aspect of the believer to grow. As Paul continued to teach Timothy and us about the importance of growing, he gives us a life application, “Train yourself for godliness.” We all know training the body has its benefits, whether we train our muscles in exercise or our brains in knowledge, the earthly benefit is clear. We intuitively know that training will help us in accomplishing our goals. The training we get through Grow is the stuff that helps us in not only this life but also the life to come. I love how Paul wraps it, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance.” It is worthy of full devotion. It is worthy of our commitment. He says this for your own good so that when we are presented with the silly myths and irreverent teachings of liars, we are able to show ourselves approved workers.
In 2 Timothy 2:15 Paul instructs again. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” You may have heard this many times before, and more than likely it will not be the last time you hear these kinds of instructions. How confident are you in handling the Word of Truth? Growing is not just a brain knowledge of the Bible, it is the ability to handle the truth and share it with others. I hope, as I was challenged, that today you also would be challenged to train, study, and commit to growing as a believer in Christ.