be built up
So you want to grow as a disciple? You want to grow in your understanding of yourself, of God, His ways and His Kingdom? You want to mature as a follower of Christ?
Growth is God’s business, according to Paul (“So neither the one who plants or the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow” - 1 Corinthians 3:7); occurring through the inner work of the Holy Spirit (“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through the His Spirit who dwells in you.” – Romans 8:11); and happens as we follow Jesus in the way of discipleship (“Go and make disciples…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” – Matthew 28:19-20).
God, through His Spirit, grows us as we commit to the journey of following Jesus.
I was reminded of one of the ways God works in this process earlier this week.
Paul is saying farewell to the church in Ephesus. He knows he won’t see them again, and so it is an emotional farewell. He gathers the church leaders together…he wants to spur them on in their caring of the flock in Ephesus.
And he says to them…
“I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up…”
Isn’t that beautiful?
The “word of his grace”.
The Word which is about God and all his goodness towards us. The Word about who he is, what he has done, and what he continues to do through His Spirit. The Word which is all about the ongoing effectiveness and power of God’s love.
And then quite simply…
“Which can build you up”
God’s Word, as the writer of Hebrews declares, is “living and active”. God’s Word is transformative. God’s Word is powerful. God, through His Spirit, through the faithful receiving of His Word, works to grow us…to build us up.
So you want to grow?
Yes, it’s a work of God. Yes it’s a work of the Spirit.
But it’s a Word thing too.
It’s the bible. Scripture. God’s written revelation of who He – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is.
Folks, make time for God’s Word. Read it. Cherish it. Treasure it. Ponder it. Study it. Live it. Align around it. Receive it. Embrace it. Meet God in it.