All throughout history, people have marked great advances, victories, and momentous occasions with celebration—some of which continue till today, such as birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, promotions, and Easter and Christmas.
Life is often likened to going to school, and that’s a good analogy. God allows all sorts of things to happen in our lives to test us, to see how we’ll react to them, to teach us lessons, and to help us grow spiritually. His desire through all this, of course, is that we’ll apply ourselves, take the lessons to heart, learn from them, and live up to our full potential. In short, life’s tests are designed by Him to help us become the people He knows we can be.
How will reading God’s Word make your life better?
Food for spiritual strength and growth. Just as your body needs food to survive and grow strong, your spirit needs spiritual nourishment from God’s Word. This little analogy crops up repeatedly in both the Old and New Testaments:
“If you abide in My word,” Jesus said, “you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”1 We all know that consistent time reading and meditating on God’s Word, along with prayer and hearing God’s still small voice, is critical to our spiritual health and fruitfulness. But sometimes we aren’t as consistent as we would like in doing those things. We skip our Bible reading, we hurry through prayer time, and we put off seeking God’s counsel on important matters.
In the second half of Matthew chapter 6, Jesus focuses on our relationship to material things. He begins by teaching the right priorities and attitudes about material possessions:
When the apostle Paul was writing about living a godly life, he listed what he called the “works of the flesh,” which included things like enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, and envy.1 He then followed up with “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”2 The fruit of the Spirit is the working of the Holy Spirit within us, which causes us to grow in godliness and Christlikeness.
I’ve heard and read many encouraging stories about the positive aspects of people’s experiences embracing the changes that come with aging. Well, now it’s my turn! I’m discovering the benefits of embracing change in new ways.
In Luke chapter 15, Jesus told the following story: