The Kingdom Of God and Spiritual Growth
In our previous letter, the point was made that, in order to nurture godliness of the people of God's Kingdom, there need to be methods and practices that can renew and transform us within. "Spiritual Discipline" is the general term for it. This time, let's talk about the prime moving force of Spiritual Discipline.
Many people have some misconceptions towards spiritual discipline, such as those who believe in their own abilities, i.e. fulfilling various practices, and spiritual growth would then be a matter of course. If this is true, we have neglected God's sovereignty because spiritual growth cannot be attained solely on one's own effort. (I Corinthians 3:6-7). Others regard it as formidable work, which is the prerogative of those super spiritual believers. Please don't get scared by the words "Spiritual Discipline" because every believer who trusts in Jesus can learn from it (II Peter 1:3-5).
Apostle Peter reminded us thus, "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness" (II Peter 1:3). We thank God for the fact that, ”has given" in its original text is in the perfect tense, indicating the moment we put our faith in Him, He would have given us new life as well as those matters related to godliness.
After that, through discovering and applying God's gifts, "you may participate in the divine nature and escape from the corruption in the world caused by evil desires." (II Peter 1:4). Thus through spiritual discipline, we can march towards maturity, participating in His divine nature and virtues; in other words, similar to what Paul understood, to make us become more like Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29-30).
Since God has given us every resource so abundantly to become more like Jesus, we should therefore "make every effort" (II Peter 1:5), i.e. totally committed in following Him. Through spiritual discipline, we model how Jesus maintained that close relationship with our Heavenly Father during His time on earth, and how He lived out His life on earth as in Heaven.
As to what spiritual discipline we can pursue, we will continue in our next issue.
提起屬靈操練，不少人都存著誤解。有人會認為要靠自己的能力，把各樣操練學好，靈命便一定有所成長；若真是這樣的話，我們便忽略了神的主權，因爲靈命成長並不是單憑一己之力所能達到 (林前3:6-7)。另外，也有人認為屬靈操練是苦差，是那些超級屬靈信徒的專利品；請不要被「操練」這詞語所嚇怕，屬靈操練是每位信靠耶穌的人都可以學習的 (彼後1:3-5)。
隨後，透過我們去發掘及運用神的恩賜，「叫我們既脫離世上從情慾來的敗壞，就得與神的性情有分。」(彼後1:4) 透過屬靈操練，我們可以邁向成熟，分享到神的性情和美德；換句話說，亦即是保羅所理解的，叫我們可以越來越像耶穌基督 (羅8:29-30)。