Disciples grow in their knowledge of God and in their relationship with him.
So how do you do that?
To grow you must know more….. You need to know more about God and what he says. So Growing is very much connected to the section on Knowing, but we’ll take it a step or two further and grow these ideas.
Don’t just Read your Bible, Study your Bible.
Reading and studying are foundations of growing as a disciple of Christ. You start by reading, as you learn how to study the Bible, it is a growth process. As a child, we crawl before we walk, walk before we run, and discipleship is much the same. Paul uses a similar analogy with meat and milk (1 Corinthians 3:2). Stating you need to learn and understand the basics of belief so you can progress on to the deeper things. As you grow you need more nutrients than what milk alone can provide.
There are several ways to go from reading to studying here are a couple quick things.
- Start to find applications for scripture in your life. As you read start looking for ways you can use what you are reading in your life. Either to correct thoughts you have or change things you are doing to align with what God says. Besides… It’s good for you. (2 Timothy 3:16)
- Learn to reference other scriptures. Many thoughts, principles, and words are used in multiple places in the Bible. Looking at other places words and ideas are used can provide insight into the information in a passage. There are many ways to find these references from concordances to reference Bibles. Today one of the easiest is going to be the internet.
Pray, more than “now I lay me down to sleep” prayers…
Prayer is not something to be done by repeating the same words over and over. (Matthew 6:7) Prayer is not reciting learned prayers either, only repeating someone else’s words. That is not how you would build a relationship with someone. God desires to hear from our hearts as an earthly father or friends would. Things like the Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew 6:9-13 are meant as a template for prayers. It is not something we pray continually. It is more about talking to God and expressing your heart than the words that you say.
The Lord’s Prayer template would be something like this.
- Praise him for who he is. Thank him for your many blessings, and the privilege of drawing closer to him
- Surrender your will to him.
- Give him your burdens, ask him to supply your needs.
- Ask for forgiveness of your sins.
- Seek his help forgiving those who have hurt or offended you.
- Ask for protection from temptation and evil.
That’s not a magic formula either, the important part is to approach him with reverence, and your true heart.
Get fed by other people. You can grow by consuming what others have prepared.
Learning from others who study and have a relationship with God is an awesome way to grow. A person who has spent many years of their lives learning about God can be a great resource. Especially when you are trying to move from “milk” to “meat”. However, they are not the only ones you can learn from. You can learn from anyone who has a relationship with God and studies him. Associating with other disciples of Christ is also a great way to get feed spiritually. Here are a few ways to learn and be fed spiritually by others.
- Go To A Church. Find a group of believers you can associate with. This can give you many avenues for learning and growth. You will find things like A pastor’s messages, Sunday School programs, Bible studies, Small groups. You will also typically encounter God-honoring music, which can be a spiritual act of worship.
- Watch Messages online or listen to podcasts. There are loads of very talented and gifted men and women of God who provide amazing content online. (at some point I will start adding some playlists of awesome messages to our YouTube channel.) Some of my favorites are Life Church, Elevation Church, Catalyst Church, and Perry Stone.
- Commentaries, Books, Blogs, newsletters, and devotionals. There are so many resources in this category that it would be difficult to cover it all. One of my Wife’s favorites is Proverbs 31 Ministries. They provide some amazing uplifting content geared to women. There are some gems in there that men will enjoy too… At some point in the future, we may list some more on the site for reference.
It may sound paranoid but test everything. Test everything that you read and hear to be sure it lines up with scripture. It doesn’t matter if it comes from a Pastor of a huge church, a person who has been a Christian for 30 or 40+ years, or someone who has been a Christian for a day. Test all things by the scriptures. No one speaking in the spirit or teaching truth will ever contradict the Bible.
Do you see the connection between Knowing God and Growing in your relationship? They are deeply connected and are connected to the other things that a disciple does.