The Agony of Love
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
— Isaiah 53:4–5
Jesus Christ came to fulfill the Scriptures.
The Scriptures were written as a shadow, a dim reflection of Jesus Christ himself — to explain in advance God’s whole plan for the salvation of the human race. The more I study God’s Word, the more I’m amazed by God’s precision. The Old Testament gives us the history of the Jewish people, and it gives us psalms and proverbs and warnings and messages of all kinds, but the more I study it, the more I find Jesus Christ written on every page.
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How Do We Grow in Christ?
The other day I was in a heart-to-heart conversation with one of my best friends about being fed spiritually, and he made an interesting statement. He expressed his sense of jealousy that I am fed at my church in weekend services and in the men’s group I attend on Wednesday mornings. His statement came from his situation of not being fed at his church and in his growing frustration at the situation. I understand the frustrating feeling of dissatisfaction in the local church, and I also know what it feels like to be in an incredible move of God through a local fellowship. This begs the question, “How do we grow in Christ?”
My response surprised him and created an interesting exchange. I explained that I am not fed by a local church on the weekend or my men’s group primarily, and instead I see that as the dessert in the spiritual meal. I am primarily fed spiritually in my daily time with the Lord, and I don’t just mean a 15-minute structured morning quiet time. For me, I love to read the Bible at any chance I get or to listen to Chuck Missler’s expositional teaching through the Bible while I am driving or I listen to audio Bibles as I am working. As you can tell, God wired me to be an auditory learner. Throughout each day I spend as much time as I can praying and listening. There are many situations that cause me to stop and ask for wisdom and God’s guidance hourly. Being fed spiritually by revelation through God’s word in private Bible study and prayer equips me to do all God tasks me to do. Modern busyness is a cancer to the soul, and in this day and age, we are surrounded by constant distractions. This is a deliberate strategy of the enemy to keep us from growing in Christ. To put the full burden of spiritual development on the local church in an hour or two per week is a recipe for disaster.
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