In 1 John 2:14, the Apostle John identifies the three stages of spiritual maturity and how to move from one stage to the next when he wrote,
"I write to you, dear children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one."
Because of this verse, I believe a disciple comes to maturity through these 4 stages:
- Born again - this is a phrase Jesus used when explaining salvation to Nicodemus in John 3:3.
- Little children - a little child is dependent on others to feed them.
- Young men - young men are independent and can feed themselves.
- Fathers - these are interdependent, have reproduced and take the responsibility of feeding others.
In the last number of blogs, I have been focusing on how to grow through the "little children" stage to the "young men" stage. John indicates that the identifiable characteristic of the "young men" is that they are strong and that their strength comes from the Word. This is consistent with what Jesus taught his disciples in John 8 when He said, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
Again, it's the Word that makes disciples and it's the Word that brings freedom. It seems that across the board, believers are placing less value on the Word than they have in the past. I think this is a big mistake. If we are to grow up in Christ and become all that we are called to become, then we need to passionately indulge in the Bible, making it a major emphasis in our lives. Too many believers spend too little time in the Word and as a result we are too easily defeated by temptation and by the enemy. John said in 1 John 2:14 that when the Word of God lives in us, we will be able to overcome the evil one.
Here's What We Need to Do to Mature in the Word:
- Learn to speak the Word. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says,"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." The Word is profitable for living. Jesus spoke the Word when He was being tempted by the devil in Matthew 4. We must learn to do the same. This means memorizing the Word, so that we can speak it into our circumstances and to our temptations.
- Personalize it. Psalm 119:11 says, "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." King David made the Word personal, when he deposited it into his own heart. We should do the same. Again, memorize.
- Pray the Word. The Bible has breakthrough promises all throughout it for every situation you will ever go through. When you pray God's written Word you are speaking His will and can therefore speak it with faith. Romans 10:17 says, "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." An amazing resource every believer needs is Dr. Hazel Hill's book "Praying God's Word." In this powerful book, Dr. Hazel has placed scriptures together in categories and turned them into prayers you can pray over your specific need with confidence.
- Meditate on it. Joshua 1:8 says,"This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success." I believe one of the best ways to meditate on the Word is to read it until you get a revelation. What do I mean? Sometimes we go through the motions and just read for the sake of reading or to stick to our reading plan. I'm not saying this is wrong, but what I am saying, is if you one verse or phrase sticks out to you and you get a revelation, stop reading and being pondering that verse. Chew on it for a day or more. Let it sink into your heart until you own that revelation.
We need to fall in love with the Word again. It is our key to maturing as disciples and to gaining the strength we need to overcome the evil one. Feed yourself by getting into the Word everyday.
Question: How often do you currently read the Word on your own? Leave a comment in the "Leave a Reply" box below.