Devotions this week based on Sunday’s Message: Compass: GROW in grace and knowledge! (LISTEN HERE)
Motivation is key to growth.
We need a Spirit-given desire to grow in our love for God’s grace and knowledge of his Word. Yesterday we indicated two good reasons to grow in knowledge…1) to know what is true and what is not and 2) to be ready for life with the wisdom that comes from God.
Today two more.
Reason 3) Be more fruitful.
January in Texas is a time to begin thinking about gardening and spring. With the last frost around the middle to end of February, now is the time to plan for “producing fruit” in the spring. In our backyard we have now eight fruit trees. In the next week or so it is time to prune some of the branches off to make the other branches more fruitful. When the blossoms start to open, it will be time to spray some fungicide to prevent rot of the fruit later on. To have a tree that produces fruit takes work.
The same is true for our walk with our Savior. He has saved us by his grace to be fruitful with his grace.
Ephesians 2:8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
We want to produce the fruit that God has planned for us to do. Paul identifies some of that fruit in Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
But Jesus in his parable of the sower and the seed identified that there are threats to producing fruit such as the worries and concerns of life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the challenges that come because of my connection to Jesus. (Matthew 13). He also taught that pruning is necessary to get rid of the parts of life that make us ineffective
John 15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
To be more fruitful means strengthening my connection to Jesus and his Word of Truth.
Reason 4) Be a teacher
Hebrews 5:11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.
The school system in central Texas is in need of teachers. With the growth in the area, districts are looking for individuals qualified to teach kids of all ages.
The Christian church and faith needs teachers. The Lord needs Christians to continue to mature in their faith so they can teach others. The writer to the Hebrews gently reprimands his readers and says, “By this time you ought to be teachers!” Perhaps its a time to reflect on the years perhaps you have been in the church and exposed to the teaching of God’s Word. Would you be comfortable teaching it to someone else? Maybe this is your challenge for 2023…be a teacher of God’s truth.
How? Perhaps it does mean going back and reviewing the basics. Take the new member course at your church. Review the basics in Luther’s Small Catechism. But then challenge yourself to teach some aspect of the Christian faith to someone else. Volunteer to teach in the kids ministry. Ask to be able to teach a lesson of the new member class or confirmation class. Practice in your home with your kids.
Be ready to be a teacher to take what God has given to you and give it to someone else.
And, in the level of learning retention, when you have to teach something to another person, YOU retain a large amount of that knowledge. So teaching is a great way to grow yourself AND help someone else grow!
Apply: What fruit of faith would you like to grow in becoming better at? What is a plan to do that? What topic of the Christian faith would you like to grow in to be able to teach someone?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for your grace and the depth of knowledge you reveal in your word. Motivate us by your Spirit to always grow to be more fruitful and ready when you need us to teach someone else. AMEN.