Saturday, July 19, 2014

Growing in Grace by the Word of God

The Apostle Peter drew his second letter to a close with these wise and pastoral words: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18). The word “grow” is an exhortation and a command, and it implies that if we’re to progress in Christ we must play an active role, by the grace of Christ, in building habits that nurture our progress. Therefore, I am offering a series of devotionals this summer on eight essential habits that help us to grow in grace. For today, let’s consider the place of the Word in the Christian life.

Isaiah wrote, “The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught” (Isaiah 50:4).

The longing of our God and Father is to draw near to his children morning by morning, opening our eyes to his glory and our hearts to his mercy. He wants to use his Word, by his Spirit, to lavish his love upon us that we might lavish his love upon others. For it is in receiving mercy that we’re able to give mercy, in receiving wisdom that we’re able to give wisdom, in receiving encouragement that we’re able to give encouragement, in receiving blessing that we’re able to be a blessing.

Therefore, our Father most lovingly calls us to allow the word of Christ to dwell richly in us (Colossians 3:16). His heart is not that we would legalistically hear, read, study, memorize, meditate on, apply, and teach the word. No, his heart is that we would seek him, that we would long for him to draw near to us and minister to us and transform us into his image, that we would share in his joy and become a blessing to others.

So whatever place the Word of God has in your life right now, I want to challenge you to press on and let the word of Christ dwell in you all the more richly. Grow in the daily habits of hearing, reading, studying, memorizing, meditating on, applying, and teaching the Word of God. And as you do, remember that the aim of pressing on in the Word is to connect, heart to heart, with our Father. Mere reading and such will do us no good.

Let us remember the words of Isaiah: “The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught” (Isaiah 50:4).


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