Jan 10

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Local congregations are made up of Christians! Christians are people who have obeyed the gospel of Christ! In simple terms, they are those who have obeyed the gospel of Christ, which means: that one has understood the gospel enough to believe it (Mark 16:16); has believed it enough to change his mind about the life he is living and is determined to walk in the teaching of Christ, he has repented (Acts 17:30); has believed it enough that he has rooted in his heart the courage to devote his life to Christ, so he confesses his loyalty to Christ (Rom. 10:9-10); has believed enough to surrender to the forgiveness of past sins to God through being baptized into Christ and raised to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:3-4). At this point, we were all just alike! Children of God, Christians! However, it is also shortly after this point that differences begin to appear among us.
Well do I remember shortly after obeying the gospel when an elder asked me to lead a prayer during the Sunday assembly of worship and without one thought, I answered, “No!” It was fear, to be sure, but hardly had that one little negative word gone out of my mouth, when a question entered my mind. “Who am I to say that I will not pray to God?” Right there, without taking another step, I said to myself, “Never again will I say no, when asked to pray.” I also remember the second time I was asked to lead prayer, and even though I had not thought about leading prayer; as it was at Bible camp and my group of young boys had just washed the dishes and I had entered the outside class area totally unprepared to lead prayer as I was running late for class, but without a word, I lead the class in prayer. However, through the years, there have been a few times when I have had to say “no” when asked to lead prayer, but it was because my health was so bad, that I thought my mind was not clear enough to lead the mind of others in prayer. The point here is that growth took place after obeying the gospel. However, this is not the case with everyone who obeys the gospel. Leading prayer is not the only way that spiritual growth is seen, but it is one way.
Another way is to be in Bible class. This also brings back memories of my early spiritual childhood. The congregation I was a member of was having a Vacation Bible School and I was going to help another person, as he taught the young people’s class. Well, after the first class it became very clear, the other young man was not able to hold the class together. So, help was needed and it somehow fell on me, and this somehow is yet unknown to me, but I found myself teaching the class. Another step in spiritual growth was taken! This was not to be the last time something like this happened to me either. At that Bible camp of which I wrote above, I was going to be a helper in one cabin. There were twelve to thirteen boys of about ten to thirteen years old. The director of the camp let it be known after the first two nights, that our cabin was the nosiest and most unclean of all the cabins. So he removed the young man I was to help and put me in charge. No, I was not prepared, had not given it one thought, but I was asked, so I answered “yes.” My Army training helped here, and before the week was up my cabin was the best. I did not go to camp to be a cabin leader, but when asked, I answered “yes!” It was another step in spiritual growth.
So, you are wondering, just what is the point of all this personal writing about? The point is, are you ready for spiritual growth? How do you know if you are ready for spiritual growth, or not? One way to know is how you answer questions! Now don’t get me wrong, the question does not have to be about something big! For some reason, we humans have a tenancy to think about “big” things. Big things are made of up a lot of little things and if the little things are not done, the one big thing will never be done either. Spiritual growth is much the same way, it is one little spiritual step at a time, but spiritual growth is the result. It is our responsibility as Peter wrote: “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Pet. 3:18).
Are you as a member of the local congregation willing to grow spiritually, by taking one little step at a time? By answering “yes” when asked, “Will you do this or that?” What you are asked to do may not be as “showy” as what someone else is asked to do, but when it is all done, the local congregation will work more smoothly, like a well-oiled machine.

— Frank R. Williams

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