Growing in Christian Life
And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. – 1 Cor 3:1-2
Paul speaks to Corinthians about there carnal ways which also applied to one who is young and week in Faith, here Paul teaches to Corinthians elementary truth about Jesus Christ as they were believers who lack in maturity) referring John 16:12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. So do Paul holds believers accountable to there carnality, as carnal man is saved in whom Holy sprit dwells but who tries to live Christian life on the same principle of unsaved man. So high spiritual plane remains bouncing and confuse there ability of understanding as they cannot see above their little world. Paul emphasises on spiritual Growth as one who come to Christ in his first stage is like babies who needs milk as they cannot digest meat this makes clear difference between Milk (for babies) and Meat (for grown ups), one of the babies attribute is there desires are self-centred, same as they new born believers rejoice greatly when they are new born believers but if they remain babies and won’t grow indefinitely they become annoyed to hearers. As milk is only good for first stage of growth.
Looking to grow, Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Spiritual growth only comes through studying word of God whole heartedly with obedience, as Hebrew 5:13-14 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. this verse encourages to grow to maturity and then to continue growing so that words abide in heart Jer 15:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts. Scripture makes clear distinguish between Spiritual Christians (one who are controlled by Holy Spirit) and carnal Christians (one who are controlled by desires of the world). So let us urge to grow in spirit and keep digging scriptures every day and keep healthy spiritual life.
Taking His cross daily
Luke 9:23, And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Matthew 16:24 and Mark 8:34 also records same where Luke records daily. Ancient practice of crucifixion was Roman method of execution.
Taking up the cross refers to denying ourself, our greeds and foolish needs and following Christ in all cases, where Christ died for our sin on cross to pay ransom for our sins to God (father).
Christians some times refers taking up the cross to burdens like sickness, poverty, etc.. does it means taking up the cross? well bible says such things are anxiousness and worries. Scripture clarifies not to be anxious for any thing, as worries and anxiousness defiles Christliness and therefore it is considered as Sin, which is a serious problem.
The Lord had a different perspective than our’s as God declares your ways are not mine ways. Jesus saw everything from heaven’s point of view.
To take up the cross means to deliberately choose the kind of life Christ lived. This involves:
- The opposition of loved ones.
- The reproach of the world.
- Forsaking family and house and lands and the comforts of this life.
- Complete dependence on God.
- Obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
- Proclamation of an unpopular message.
- A pathway of loneliness.
- Organized attacks from established religious leaders.
- Suffering for righteousness’ sake.
- Slander and shame.
- Pouring out one’s life for others.
- Death to self and to the world.
Which means finding the reason for our existence and it’s eternal reward. Our minds are reluctant to believe that this could be God’s will for us. Yet the words of Christ “If anyone desires to come after Me” mean that nobody is excused and nobody is excepted.
Following Jesus means willing to die for him daily in this world for Christ sake, dying is not literally taking the cross but it is consciously dying everyday to this world and live life in Christ by denying lust, temptation, worries, and any fleshly desires, but to live to Glorify God in all our works and being perfect example of Christ like living to others as testimony.
Paul testify: Galatians 5:24, But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
Dying for life
John 12:23-26, And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
We all die for some nor other thing as some die to have gadgets some for particular food and other for some of there passion or needs, we all are craving for things in this Earth (physical life) but dieing to live is to live with Lord (God) referring from John 12:23-26 in our heart we need to die to serve Lord, Die is to gain we know physical death leads to eternal life with Lord (only under belief and trust).
V24 expects the way Lord is planted to bring harvest for next. Here In this verse Jesus is speaking about his death to our sin and provide like for us (One who believe and trust). Jesus died for our sin so all who believe shall have eternal life and he died according to scripture, Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.) Acts records the believers entering in numbers and Christ wants us to be in that number, it also applies to believers referring Matthew 16:25-26 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? We have to love Lord than our self.
V25 as believers we won’t protect protect our physical life but will protect Gods principle his teachings and not being self contended (selfish) but to have a desire on God and his words and to be fruitful for his Glory. As we are seeds that weather and die from this worlds desire and bring forth harvest for Lords Glory, Paul says to Timothy 2Timothy 1:7, For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind not to fear but teach with sound mind.
This is a message for believers but for unbelievers it is time to understand the free gift (eternal life) which is given from Lord.
Loving one another
For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. – 1 John 3:11
Christ commands to love one another was a new commandment, but careful consideration through scripture this command has been with us from very beginning of the world.
Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. – 1 John 2:7
John 1:1 speaks the beginning as same of Genesis 1:1
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) – 1John 1:1-2
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. – Genesis 1:1
Reconfirmed from John,
I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. – 1 John 2:13
I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. – 1 John 2:14
Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. – 1 John 2:24
This is an eternal commandment for GOD IS LOVE (1 John 4:16) & LOVE IS GOD (1 John 4:7)
And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. – 1 John 4:16
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. – 1 John 4:7
In John 17:24,26 at upper room, Jesus prayed to father:
Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. — O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them. – John 17:24,26
Love has been the Center of Gods plan from the beginning, and Christ has given a new measures of that Love.
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. – John 13:34