The Kingdom of God and Spiritual Growth (1)
Many new believers in Jesus have questions: "what are the ways for spiritual growth after believing in Jesus? Do you go to church more?"
However, some believers who have been to church for 10, 20 years or more, still show no signs of spiritual growth. On the other hand, many believers serve fervently; yet face spiritual dryness, or live double lives. "Thank God" or "praise the Lord" are often on their lips, but when they return home, they are beyond recognition.
What is the reason? Maybe because there are too many distractions. We want to love God, but also want to chase after money or fame. We know to have devotion and read the Bible, but also want to read more newspapers or much social media browsing like Facebook or Instagram. We hope to concentrate on prayers, but worry about dinner at the same time. In addition to distraction, many times Christian churches, in general, preach the gospel that forgives sins or gives blessings only. This leads to churches that cultivate church attendees who seek merely blessings or the assurance of heaven, but fail to nurture disciples that Jesus required!
What is it really to become a disciple of the Lord? What does this have to do with spiritual growth? Let's take a look at a common theme in the Old Testament. Different books of the Old Testament appear to have a similar saying: "I will be your God and you will be my people." (Exo 6:7; Lev 26:12; Jer 30:22; Eze 11:20; Zec 8: 8) The relationship between God and His people mentioned in the Old Testament extends all the way to us as believers today.
For us today, trusting in Jesus "has brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves” (Col 1:13) and we have become "members of the household of God" (Eph 2:19). One of the main points of the Gospel books of the New Testament is talking about the Kingdom of God. There it mentions our priorities in life — "But seek first his kingdom" (Matt 6:33a). The Kingdom of God is also about God's presence — “And surely I am with you always" (Matt 28:18-20); and "the kingdom of God is in your midst" (Luk 17: 20-21). All these show that the Kingdom of God has come, and we are already living in His Kingdom.
I hope in this series of pastoral letters to come, we will explore together the relationship between the Kingdom of God and discipleship.
究竟成為主的門徒是甚麼一回事？這與靈命成長又有何關係？讓我們看看舊約聖經一個常見的主題。舊約不同的書卷，都出現差不多一樣的說話：「我要作你們的神，你們要作我的子民。」(出6:7; 利26:12; 耶30:22; 結11:20; 亞8:8) 舊約聖經提及神與祂子民的關係，一直延伸到我們現今信主的人。