I took some time off this past week to enjoy a visit by my brother and do a little “catching up” on events since I last saw him. As we talked the subject of the state of the church in America came up and I was encouraged to find we shared the same opinion on it's health, and the reasons for it. Now most of us have heard at one time or another that the best way to enjoy a healthy lifestyle is to avail ourselves of two things; the right food and proper exercise. This simple formula applies to our spiritual health as well and one could certainly use the argument that ignoring this may be the biggest reason for the poor state of the church today.
I have often been asked what resources I use in my personal studies and to be truthful it would take quite a long time to list all of them. Yet there are a few that I go to on a regular basis because I know what I can expect to find there is good, solid, scriptural food. One of those resources is pastor Jeff Schreve of First Baptist Church of Texarkana Texas. I will list two links at the end of this column where you can go to see for yourself, but right now I would like to share a short devotion of his that addresses the subject of our need to eat the right scriptural food and exercise our faith.
The Key to Winning Your Spiritual Battles
Jeff Schreve, First Baptist Church, Texarkana Texas
I saw a recent survey that asked, “Which celebrity would you like to have live next door to you?” The number one response was NFL quarterback, Tim Tebow. Tebow, you might remember, won the Heisman Trophy at the University of Florida, was drafted by the Denver Broncos, and was recently traded to the New York Jets. He’s is a godly man who is not afraid to stand up and speak out for Jesus Christ.
A few months back, I read Tim’s wonderful autobiography, Through My Eyes. In the book, he talks about how competitive he was growing up. At 4 years old, he asked his dad if he could start lifting weights. When his dad said no, he got hold of some stretchy rubber tubes and started working on building his shoulders. He also did 400 push-ups and 400 sit-ups every day. Wow! That work ethic continued through school, and the rest is history.
Tim Tebow is a lot of things. But if you had to find one word to describe him, you might use the word strong. He’s strong physically, and he’s strong spiritually.
Now, growing strong isn’t just for the Tim Tebows of the world. It’s for all believers. And while we may have different physical abilities, the one area where we can all grow strong is in our relationship with Jesus Christ. This is an absolute must for all Christians because Satan would love nothing more than to attack your weaknesses and destroy God’s work in your life.
So how can you grow strong and stand firm in your relationship with the Lord? Well, the Bible tells us in 1 Peter 2:1-3:
Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.
I want you to notice something very important from this little passage. As believers, you and I must long for and feed on the Word to grow just like a newborn baby longs for pure milk to grow. Jesus makes it clear that Christianity is a new birth experience (John 3:3). This is exactly what Peter has in mind as he’s writing, as evidenced by his words in 1:3, where he says that God has caused us to be “born again into a living hope….”
This is crucial, so don’t miss it! The moment anyone sees his or her need and cries out, “Jesus, have mercy on me!” the new birth experience becomes a personal reality. And just as newborn babies need milk to grow strong, so do born again believers need God’s Word to grow strong in the fight against the enemy.
Many Christians have been believers for years, but are still newborn babes because they’ve missed this simple truth. Listen, you and I never outgrow our need for the Word of God. It is food for our soul. So spend time each and every day in God’s Word, feasting on it and letting it dwell richly within you. As you do, you’ll grow strong in your faith and start winning your spiritual battles!