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It is certainly no secret that Christians are expected to grow. It is something that needs to start as soon as one obeys the gospel and it needs to continue throughout your service to the Lord upon this earth
And as Christians we also ought to know that growth can NEVER stop. There are some who have made considerable spiritual growth in their lives but they think they have come far enough. They have matured in the faith and they know it. While that maturity is good, it NOT a time for retirement. It is pure arrogance to think that you cannot learn anything more or that you have come far enough that you can “ease up” on the studies. Yet that is what many do. What they learned back then may be right, but is there deeper understanding and can it be developed further? Peter in his second letter, written to Christians who already knewindicating a level of maturity (see 2 Peter 1:12-15. Thus growth is something that should NEVER end, especially spiritual growth. I am reminded of Hebrews 5:12 which begins, “for by this time you ought to be teachers…” meaning they had quit growing or had not grown at all. It was presented as a rebuke followed by a strong warning for those who fail to “go on to perfection.”
- Christians should know what spiritual growth is
- To be aware of the hindrances that may affect our spiritual growth
- Consequences of not growing spiritually
- How to overcome these hindrances
- Benefits of growing spiritually
Before we discuss further, let consider definitions of some key words in the topic:
- SPIRITUAL GROWTH: Increasing in your faith and trust in God (2Peter 1:3-8)
- HINDRANCES: Barriers, impediments, obstacles, obstructions, stumbling blocks etc – are synonyms of hindrances. Therefore, Merriam Webster Dictionary defines hindrance as a state of being hindered (obstructed). A person or thing that makes a situation difficult.
Some Hindrances to Spiritual Growth:
- Lack of Prayer
Lack of an effective prayer life can lead to lack of direction and discernment in one’s life. Prayer is not one-way. Prayer is two way communication with God. Therefore prayer is not only an opportunity for us to talk to God but prayer is also an opportunity for God to speak to us. God hears us and we hear God.
We draw spiritually close to the Lord by spending more time with Him.
Jeremiah 33:3 – ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’
1 Thessalonians 5:17 – Pray without ceasing.
James 5:16 – Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
- Lack of Bible Study
Another hindrance to spiritual growth is when a person does not study and meditate on the word of God. Through the studying of the Scriptures we learn
- The divine nature of God
- The plans and precepts of God
- The sinful nature of man & God’s redemption for man through Jesus Christ
- The nature of mankind’s enemy and how the enemy is defeated through Christ
- God’s spiritual guidelines for godly living.
2 Timothy 2:15 – Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Joshua 1:8 – This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Hebrews 4:12– For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
(3) Lack of Fellowship With Other Believers
Without fellowship with the right people, it can be difficult to grow spiritually. When you have the right people around you, such people edify, build and encourage you in the Lord.
Fellowship with unbelievers can lead to backsliding and spiritual corruption. It’s therefore important to guard yourself against the wrong kind of influences as you grow in your Christian faith.
1 Corinthians 15:33 – Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good ha href=”http://biblegateway.com/bible?version=NKJV&passage=2+Corinthians+6%3A14″>2 Corinthians 6:14,15 – Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?
(4) Listening to Bad / False Doctrine
False doctrine can hinder spiritual growth. When a person spiritually feeds himself with the wrong information, such doctrine will corrupt the person. God warns us through his word against obeying false doctrine and also He warns us to avoid following false prophets. A person who follows false doctrine and false teachers is a person who is not only deceived – but that person also deceives himself.
Matthew 24:11 – Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
1 Timothy 4:1 – Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons
1 Timothy 4:16 – Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
(5) Living in Sin
A life of unconfessed sin is a hindrance to spiritual growth. When a person does not feel conviction when he sins or when he/she is not repentant of a sinful habit that sin can stagnate that person’s growth in the Lord.
It’s therefore important to always confess our sins. We mus to always confess our sins. We must also forgive our neighbor if our neighbor has offended us. We must walk in love and humility. Pride is the root cause of many sins.
Isaiah 59:1,2 – Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.
1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Gal.5:19The works of the flesh are hindrance to spiritual growth
Are you growing? If not, seek the Lord; read His word; spend time in prayer; remove the obstacles in your life that prevent or stagnate your walk with the Lord. Surrender all to God.
- Pleasing people over God
“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” –Galatians 1:10
By being bound to the opinions of people, we hinder the many ways God could use us- maybe to reach these exact same people. Remember you are a representative of Christ, not of this world. We can’t long to be in alignment with the world around us so much that we fall out of alignment with God. If the choices we’re making are to win the approval of being liked by others but at the cost of compromising our relationship with God, we have an insecurity problem and need a perspective check. Nothing is worth your soul.
One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. It’s important to remember who you serve and who God is because in the end nobody can keep your soul but Jesus. Even if no one else understands your faith, God sees you and will reward your faithfulness. Nothing compares to having God on your side.
Consequences of not Growing Spiritually:
You will be tossed to and fro carried by every wind of doctrine – Eph.4:14
Inability to develop strong faith in Christ to live above fear, sins and ungodly life.
Eternal damnation – John 3:36
How to overcome these hindrances:
- Study the word of God to show yourself approved…(2Tim 2:15-)
- Be prayerful (1Thess. 5:17)
- Crucify the flesh and its works as listed in Gal. 5:19-20
- Put on the whole armor of the gospel (Eph. 6:10-18)
- Develop absolute faith in Christ that circumstances and situations of life does not affect your spiritual well being
- Resist the devil – flee all appearances of evil
- Live above fear – trust God all the time (1Cor 15:58)
Benefits of Growing Spiritually:
- You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free
- You shall no longer be children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ (Eph 4:14-15)
- Eternal life is sure.
1Co 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
INDOOR LECTURE PRESENTED BY BROTHER IMAIKOP ESHIET AT
UYO TOWN CHURCH OF CHRIST,
20 PAUL BASSEY STREET, UYO.
SUNDAY 3RD SEPTEMBER, 2017.