• Jack Selcher

How to Grow Spiritually

Habits begin as spiderwebs and then become chains. Some habits are good. Some aren’t. Regular church attendance is a good habit. Regularly attending with your mind in neutral or with a commitment to do nothing about what you hear isn’t. To grow spiritually, you must be willing to change your ways.

Several parables in Mark 4:1-34 address the growth of God’s Kingdom. It extends progressively to include more and more people and more and more of each person.

Spiritual growth depends on your response to God’s word (Mark 4:1-25). Jesus described a farmer sowing seed in various types of soil. The story has a deeper meaning. Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear” (Mark 4:9, NIV).

Since His disciples didn’t understand the Parable of the Soils, Jesus explained it. He said the four soils represent four responses to God’s word. The first response is like seed scattered on hard-packed soil. It’s taken away before it germinates. That’s why unbelievers don’t understand God’s word. It’s also why some professing believers don’t apply it. Have long-term habits so trampled and hardened the soil of your mind that the word has no chance of germinating? Growth requires willingness to change.

The second response to God’s word yields only short-lived growth. Often this follows an emotional response to the gospel. Absent is a whole-person commitment of mind, emotion, and will to hang in for the long haul. Toadstool Christians are briefly spectacular. But they fade away quickly.

The third response results in choked-out growth. An initial positive response to the word occurs. But the word isn’t allowed to run its course and produce fruit. Distractions choke it out—the desire to be a star student or athlete, fit into the group, be cool, popular, noticed, secure or comfortable. Financial idolatry chokes it out. So does the desire for other things. Your priorities greatly affect your spiritual fruit and the church’s future.

The fourth is the good soil response. Truth, like fertilizer, must be applied for growth to occur. You must incorporate biblical truth into your life to bear fruit.

God causes spiritual growth (Mark 4:26-34). He pre-programs seeds to bear fruit. Given favorable conditions, God’s rule within you will continue to grow in strength and extent. You cooperate by removing obstructions to growth. As you do, God mysteriously transforms your speech, attitudes, motives, and actions.

The Parable of the Mustard Seed teaches that the Kingdom of God grows from a small beginning to reach impressive proportions (Mark 4:30-32). God makes it grow. You’re the gardener. Your priorities and your application of God’s word determine whether you’ll be God’s garden or His thistle patch. #freechristiandiscipleshipresources #freeevangelismresources #freechristianleadershipresources

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Photo: File:Gospel of Mark Chapter 4-1 (Bible Illustrations by Sweet Media).jpg - Wikimedia Commons

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