Fundamentals of Christian Growth Part 17

The Word of God was given to bring us to a place of maturity in our Christian growth. Unfortunately, most Christians struggle through life because they do not have a personal knowledge of Scripture.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…
Hosea 4:6(a)

Christians perish in their bodies, emotions, health, finances, and more simply because they lack knowledge.

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Isaiah 26:3

The average Christian does not keep their mind focused on God. Scripture was given to provide us with the knowledge of God and keep our minds on Him. 

Jesus called the Word of God seed. He then referenced four different types of ground which represented four conditions of the human heart. We have spent some time looking at the first and will now move on to the second.

And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.
Mark 4:16-17

How many times have we been excited by a sermon? We sit in service and shout amen as the minister expertly delivers their message but this is not enough. 

The second type of ground represents people just like us who are excited to hear the teaching of God’s Word. They are excited by what they are hearing but have no depth in their Christian life. This is exactly where I lived for most of my younger Christian years.

Over time I’ve come to realize that Jesus was showing us the progression of maturity. We all enter into Christianity totally insensitive to the Word of God. This makes us easy targets for Satan to steal what little seed has been planted in our hearts. As we continue to progress in our Christian walk, we’ll grow from the first type of ground into the second.

The second stage of our Christian maturity will include an excitement about the Word of God. This is still a very shallow state. When Satan sends any type of attack our ways we will try to stand but only if it is not difficult. 

In the second stage we are preoccupied with afflictions and persecution. A person who will continue to press in to God through prayer will eventually achieve victory and move into the third stage. This is the point where we are no longer held in bondage by persecution or afflictions. 

And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.
Mark 4:16-17

Jesus tells us that persecution comes against us “for the word’s sake”. This is not what is being taught in a large percentage of churches. Ministers tell us that persecution is sent from God to “teach” us or to make us better Christians. Persecution does not make us better. It also will not mature us in our faith!

Persecution and affliction come against the Word that has been planted in our hearts. Its goal is to bring offense which opens a door for Satan to enter and steal, kill, and destroy. 

We all have problems because of living in a fallen world. Any person who makes a commitment to turn towards God’s plan will be persecuted. It will not be possible to grow spiritually separate from the Word. We must accept the fact that spiritual growth then will be accompanied with persecution.

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
2 Timothy 3:12

This verse makes it clear that a person who is pursuing God will be persecuted. I think that this would in turn mean that a person who is not being persecuted is not living a godly life.

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