Christian Growth: Knowing, Doing, Teaching

Growing as a Christian can seem like a mysterious process. And to some extent it is. As a Christian we are being transform by God to will and to work his good purposes in our life and the world (Philippians 2:13). It is nothing short of a miracle that God can take sinful people and transform them by implanting his Spirit within them to do good that is completely contrary to their sinful nature! Christian growth is a great mystery made possible by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

But there are things that we can do. Ezra 7:10 gives us a good roadmap for growing in the Lord. Ezra 7:10 says, “For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.” Now at first this verse may seem esoteric, maybe even mysterious. But it is simple. As believers in Christ we are giving the freedom to pursue a relationship with God and to grow in his ways and to enjoy him. But you have to want to do it. Here is the good part, as Ezekiel 36:27 tells us God places this desire in our hearts through his Spirit. When you feel the tension in your soul between playing one more round of Xbox (or whatever your time vice may be) or reading your Bible, that is the Spirit urging you into deeper relationship with God. When we choose something other than the Spirit’s urging we are making a decision to not grow as a Christian.

Ezra set himself to growth in the Lord. Ezra 7:10 says “[He] set his heart.” That is what Christian growth takes at its inception, and really everyday. It is a conscious decision to follow the Spirit’s leading to deeper relationship.

And Ezra set his heart to do three things: 1) study God’s Law, 2) to live out the Law in his life, and 3) to teach God’s Law to others. This could be summarized as knowing, doing, and teaching.

Knowing – If you want to grow as a Christian you have to spend time in God’s Word. Christian’s often bemoan the fact that they want to hear from the Lord and don’t know how to do that. God has given us several thousand pages of words from his very mouth handed down through the ages for us to read. Spending time in the Word of God is essential to Christian growth. A simple way to study God’s Word is to set aside regular times to read it and respond in prayer. I underline in my Bible anything that ‘speaks’ to me and then I go back and pray through my underlines. You will be amazed at how much just this simple type of Bible study will change your life.

Doing – There is knowledge to be gained from Bible study. There is a level of information that must be learned about God, Christ, and man if you are to grow. The second step is doing. I fear this may be where most Christians fail. We are always looking for better teaching, more teaching, deeper teaching, when many times what we need to do is just put into practice what we know. In fact we see Jesus get mad at the Scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23:2-3 not because they were teaching the Law of Moses, but because they were not practicing what they were preaching! Part of praying through the underlines in your Bible is praying that God would help you put into practice what you are reading. Read the Word, listen to what it is teaching you, and attempt by God’s help to put it into practice.

Teaching – Teaching is the natural end of growth. Everybody has someone to teach. Teaching others to grow in the Lord is not just the job of Pastors and evangelists. The Great Commission was given to everyone who claims the name of Christ because we all have someone to teach. But you can’t teach if you are not experiencing the God you espouse. Everyone knows that Christian sage in their church. That elder man or woman who can drop the best Bible study you ever heard at the drop of a hat, no prep. That is because they have set themselves to study God’s Word and to do it. Then when the occasion arises they can teach. Who has God put in your life that you should be discipling? Your kids, wife, co-workers, neighbors?

Knowing, Doing, Teaching; a simple path to growth. Here is the cool thing, sometimes we do all three at the same time. You may be learning about God, while you are struggling to live out his Word, while teaching someone what you are learning in the midst of your own growth! This is part of the mystery of the grace of God. We can learn, attempt, fail, repent, and try again, and God grows us and those around us right in the middle of our own growth. Christian growth takes a heart that is willing to engage with God’s Word and walk with him in life. Like Ezra set your heart to know God’s Word, to do it, and to teach it.

This blog in part came from a sermon on Christian growth that I preached at Risen Life Church as we were working through our vision statement of Real Life Transformation: Connect, Grow, Serve, Reach.

ClickHere to Listen to the Sermon

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